Alanbess Luncheonette Chicken Scampi

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Gary Allen has a way– a wayward, winding way–with words: especially when describing memorable food moments from his own colorful youth. (Go to onthetable for an illustrative sampling.) But Allen’s recent write-up about “The Underground Gourmet Cookbook,” full of New York restaurant recipe gems hunted down by Milton Glaser & Jerome Snyder in the ’70s, went straight to the point: Great book. Great cheap meals. Great recipes. Many of these restaurants are long gone, which makes the recipes more of a treasure: Blue Cheese and Apple Crepes form Belcrep, Chicken Scampi from Alanbess Luncheonette; rich meatless classics from Jewish dairy restaurants The Grand, Hammer’s, Hershey’s and Gefen’s. I dove in to Amazon.com for my 95 cent copy. You can too! There were several copies left, last I checked.

But enough on the book–here’s the story about the chicken: When Milt Glaser and Jerome Snyder wrote about Alanbess Luncheonette in 1975, the restaurant founders and namesakes, Al & Bess Rappaport, had already retired after 42 years running the place. Jerry Lopez had taken over. The restaurant’s gone now, but this Chicken Scampi recipe, from the Rappaport family-favorites file, takes you back. It has all the flavors of chicken and stuffing, but in a noodle dish.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 3-lb frying hen, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup good-quality olive oil
  • 1 lb onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 heaping Tbsp Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 8 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb linguine (ronzoni # 17)

Instructions

  1. Wash chicken well. Dry chicken. Cprinkle with coarse salt and let stand.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot, saute onions in 3 tbsp oil until translucent. Add garlic and saute another minute or two. Do not let onions or garlic brown. Remove to a small bowl.
  3.  Arrange chicken in same pot, placing large pieces on the bottom. Add balance of oil, plus oregano, basil, pepper, salt and 1/2 cup parsley. Cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Add sauteed onion and garlic to chicken, stir, and simmer another 15 minutes. Stir bread crumbs into sauce. Serve chicken and sauce over boiled linguine. Garnish with scallions, remaining parsley and grated parmesan.

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