|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 27g||35%|
|Saturated Fat 16g||79%|
|Total Carbohydrate 61g||22%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||13%|
|Total Sugars 19g|
|Vitamin C 8mg||38%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
It is said that this famous dish was prepared with a decidedly French twist and offered on the menu of the doomed Titanic voyage in 1912. Thankfully, the recipe survived and it was one of the greatest chefs of the 20th century who helped make it so popular, even if the recipe wasn't originally his. Auguste Escoffier's version published in his acclaimed book Ma Cuisine is the inspiration for our take on juicy and flavorful Maryland chicken. The original recipe dredges the chicken in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, and then fries it in butter, but our take instead bakes the chicken breast until juicy and crunchy outside.
Escoffier's version and countless others include some form of banana garnish because, despite the dish's origins in French cooking, bananas were one of Baltimore's prime imports around the time this dish became popular in the United States. Although bananas might seem like an odd addition, well into the 20th century, this tropical fruit was considered a luxury and its expensive price made it a commodity not all households could afford. Thus, serving chicken with bananas on the side was a symbol of status.
This dish has variations, but bananas and gravy on the side seem to be a common denominator. Most current versions fry and steam the chicken at the same time by browning it first, then covering to ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked, and serving it with pan gravy. We opted for a luscious béchamel sauce but kept the classic garnish of sweet bananas.
For the Chicken:
6 boneless chicken breast halves (cut in half lengthwise)
2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 1/3 cups dry breadcrumbs
For the Béchamel Sauce:
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash freshly grated nutmeg
For the Banana Garnish:
3 medium bananas (ripe, firm, and sliced)
3 tablespoons butter
Prepare the Chicken
Gather the ingredients.
In a large, shallow pan, place the chicken and add the buttermilk. Cover and marinate it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 F and prepare a roasting pan.
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator, drain, and discard the buttermilk. Reserve on the side.
Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter and reserve.
Prepare a shallow bowl with flour, another with the beaten eggs, and another with the breadcrumbs.
Dredge each piece of chicken in the all-purpose flour, then the eggs, and lastly the breadcrumbs until all pieces all well coated.
Arrange the chicken breasts in the roasting pan and generously drizzle with the melted butter.
Bake the chicken for 30 to 40 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking process, until it has a golden brown color.
Make the Bechamel
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste.
Continue whisking, cook for about 2 minutes, and then gradually, add the milk, 1/3 cup at a time. Stir well and cook until the sauce is completely heated through, smooth, and thickened. Remove from the heat and season with the salt and nutmeg.
Make the Banana Garnish
Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet set over medium heat.
Sauté the sliced banana slices in the butter until they turn golden brown.
Assemble the Chicken
Arrange two pieces of chicken per person on a warm plate. Drizzle it with a bit of béchamel sauce and garnish the plate with a few slices of sautéed banana.