CNY A Taste of Utica Cornmeal Crusted Chicken (or Haddock)

by Joanne on November 28, 2010

Memories from Dave Cerminaro….

I often tell my kids about growing up in East Utica right down the street from Albany Street School.  I lived right in the heart of the Italian population.  The thoughts of huge gardens, homemade wine and the smell of garlic on Sundays brings back  a lot of great memories.  Often times my kids say they wished they could have lived in the “olden days.”  I still have a grape vine growing on the side of may house here in Clay, NY north of Syracuse.  It came from my wife’s grandmother’s house on Webster Ave. No matter where we go, that grape vine will follow.

On page 86, posted by JM, this week we cook Cornmeal Crusted Chicken (or Haddock). 


The actual recipe is for Chicken but, as you all know by now, this blogger doesn’t eat meat, her husband does.  We did a “two-fer” and made the recipe with haddock one night and chicken the next night.  Both nights resulted in a delicious dish with a lot of flavor yet not hiding the taste of the protein.  Isn’t that how a recipe is suppose to work?



Cornmeal Crusted Chicken (if using fish, follow the same directions except, please do NOT pound the fish!)


  • 4 chicken breast halves – boneless/skinless (or 2 lbs fresh haddock fillets – about 4 fillets)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal (I didn’t have cornmeal but had plenty of corn flour, so I used 1/2 cup of the corn flour)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper (I mixed 1/2 tsp lemon peel powder with 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS lime juice

For the chicken:  Rinse and dry the chicken breasts.  Place one at a time in a large zipper-lock plastic bag.  Leaving the bag unzipped, use a meat mallet to pound the chicken to 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick.  Repeat with each remaining breast.  This can be done ahead of time and the chicken can be stored in the fridge in the sealed bag.

Set two shallow bowls or pie plates on your counter.  Place the egg substitute in one bowl, the cornmeal mixed with the lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and cheese in the other bowl. 

Rub the chicken (or fish) with lime juice.  Dip one piece of chicken/fish at a time in the egg substitute then coat evenly with cornmeal mixture.   If there is time, place the chicken on a wire rack to dry out a  little.

The chicken can be baked or grilled.  If baking, preheat oven to 400 F. If grilling, make sure the grill is very hot, spray the grate well with vegetable oil cooking spray, then place the chicken on the grill and brush each piece with additional vegetable oil.  Cook for 5 – 7 min. per side until tender and brown. 

The same procedure can be used if baking in the oven. Spray the pan and top of the chicken with oil, and turn halfway through cooking time.  *I cooked 20 min per side for larger chicken breasts (total 40 min.).  Serve with salsa if desired.


*For the fish, cook in a foil lined pan sprayed with non-stick spray, brush top lightly with olive oil after coating it with cornmeal mix and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until flakey *depends on thickness of the fillets.


Next week we’re cooking Honey Chicken, Crockpot.  It looks really good! 

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