I hate long-haul flights.
Just to get this straight, I'm not scared of flying. I am not afraid that the aeroplane I'm on will fly into a mountain or crush into the sea because of pilot error, or explode without warning in flight, or that a psychopath will place a bomb under my seat, or prang into another airplane on the ground.
I don’t find flying frightening at all. Over the years I figured that once you get into the aeroplane, I’m pretty much at the mercy of the pilot and there’s not much point in worrying.
I hate long-haul flights because airplanes are very uncomfortable (unless you travel Business or First, duh!). I’m almost 6’3, and unless I get an emergency exit seat, there’s never enough legroom for me.
After a couple of hours my legs turn numb and my back start aching. So I get up to stretch my legs but guess what, when I do so, it's always turbulence time! Thus, I’m “gently” asked to return to my seat and stay put.
And then there’s the boredom factor. You see, I can’t sleep/nap on airplanes. I so envy those people who, even before take-off, are already sleeping like babies in their seat. I just can’t do it, not even if I pop a sleeping pill. I did it once and instead of sleeping, I got totally mental like if I was on drugs or something (yeah, never again in my life!)
My main goal on long-haul flights is usually to simply pass the time. I watch movies, read a book, play video games and I flip through the pages of all the newspapers and magazine I can lay my hands on.
And that’s how I found this recipe.
The other week I was flying home from Paris (on AirFrance) and I was sitting next to this French girl (see, there’s always a silver lining, even on long-haul flights...) She had all sorts of magazines stored in the seat-back pocket (which looked as it was about to explode).
So I asked her if I could take a look at them. “Mais oui, of course!” she answered, as she handed me the large stack of paper.
As I looked at the covers I realized that unfortunately they were all fashion magazines.
Not really my thing.
There isn’t much to read in fashion magazines. Pictures, ads and here and there some - not too interesting - articles in French (which I do read and speak btw).
But Marie Claire has a food section (I know, I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E!) and that's where I found this recipe for chicken kebabs.
It looked uber fancy but nothing too complicated. Few ingredients, one bowl, and just one skillet to make this very sexy French entree.
I got home, and made it while still jet-lagged (yes, I’m unstoppable). And, surprise surprise it was just what I expected. Simple, delish and sexy: Very French!
I think we still have so much to learn from the folks on the other side of the Atlantic when it comes to food (and fashion!)
Adapted from Marie Claire (French Edition)
Note. Follow the recipe verbatim to the letter when forming the kebabs. You need to make one kebab at a time and cook it immediately to "seal" the kebab. It's the only way to do it, do not improvise!
Serves 4 (makes about 12 kebabs)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
¾ pound / 340 gr free-range organic ground chicken
1 organic free-range egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
a handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
a small handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
a pinch of ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon sesame seeds, for coating (I used black and white seeds)
Soak wooden skewers in water (this will prevent them from catching fire or splintering).
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet (or pan) over medium heat. Add onions and saute’ for about 6 minutes until translucent.
Once cooked, transfer onions to a large bowl and add ground chicken, egg, ricotta, mint, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
Place the sesame seeds into a shallow dish and set aside.
Using a paper towel remove any stuck onion bits from the skillet. Add the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
Scoop two heaping tablespoons of chicken mixture, with dampened hands form a long-shaped meatball around one wooden skewer and drop it immediately into the hot skillet.
You need to work one kebab at a time (this is very important) the chicken mixture is very wet and tends to fall off the skewer. Cooking right away “seals” the kebab.
Repeat the procedure until all kebabs are formed.
If your skillet is not large enough to cook all kebabs at once, cook in batches.
Cook kebabs for 8 to 10 minutes, turning them often until they have some golden coloring on all sides.
Once cooked, roll kebabs into the sesame seeds until well coated.
One Sesame Chicken Kebab yields 83 calories, 5.7 grams of fat, 1.9 grams of carbs and 5.8 grams of protein.