1. Finely grate 1 teaspoon of zest from the lemon; set aside. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk, sugar, and cayenne until the sugar and cayenne are dissolved. Add the sprigs of rosemary and garlic. Pierce each chicken piece several times with a fork, add to the milk mixture, turning to coat well. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Lay the bread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake, turning a few times, until the bread is crisp and dry, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely. Break into large pieces and pulse in the bowl of a food processor until it forms coarse crumbs.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. In a shallow dish combine the bread crumbs with the corn meal, Parmesan (if using), chopped rosemary, reserved 1 teaspoon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire rack. Coat the rack well with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Working with one piece at a time, remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off. Press into the bread crumb mixture until the chicken is well coated and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken and crumbs. Mist the chicken with nonstick cooking spray.
5. Bake until the chicken is crisp and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160 degrees F, about 50 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutritional analysis of 1/2 of total recipe for breading mixture
Calories 181; Total Fat 3.5g (Sat Fat 1g, Mono Fat 1g, Poly Fat 0.5g) ; Protein 9g; Carb 29g; Fiber 4g; Cholesterol 1mg; Sodium 506mg
Nutritional analysis per serving of chicken
Calories 328; Total Fat 10g (Sat Fat 3g, Mono Fat 3g, Poly Fat 2g) ; Protein 48g;
Carb 10 g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 186mg; Sodium 330mg
Marinating skinless chicken pieces with lemon, herbs and a bit of skim milk as a tenderizer, really gets the flavor into the chicken. Cornmeal and whole wheat bread crumbs make a crunchy coating with few calories and baking on a rack ensures no soggy bottoms on the chicken.
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