Chicken Kiev

The first time I ate at The Russian Tea Room in New York, I was invited by Eddie Landau who wanted to introduce me to the famous restaurant and meet his friend, the owner Sidney Kaye. The last time was with actors Renée Landau (Rodgers) and Marty Balsam. Both times - and always in between - we started with Zakuski, the appetizers including Blini and Salmon Caviar with melted butter and sour cream.

But that last time was memorable because Mel Brooks saw us, came over saying, "Do you mind if I work your table?" And work our table he did, keeping us hanging on to it in non-stop painful laughter for a solid hour. It was so outrageous that I have no memory of the rest of the meal, but the Chicken Kiev was hard to resist.

Chicken Kiev

Cream half a pound of butter with 2 teaspoons of salt, a teaspoon of lemon juice, finely chopped chives and parsley or other herbs. Form into 8 finger-shaped pieces half an inch in diameter and about 3 inches long.Chill.

Divide in half 4 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts. Between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap, pound to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and wrap around the chilled butter enclosing it carefully

Prepare the chicken a l'anglaise: i.e. flour, beaten eggs, breadcrumbs. Dip chicken rolls in flour, then egg, then crumbs. Chill for an hour or two. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a heavy deep saucepan or fryer, heat 3 or 4 inches of oil to 360 degrees. Deep fry 4 of the rolls for five minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and hold in the warm oven while you fry the rest. Serve at once, perhaps with the traditional peas and potatoes. The hot seasoned butter will come oozing, or bursting, out with the piercing of your fork.