Parmesan Oven-Fried Chicken

Recipe from Hamish H. Johnston
Submitted by National Museums Scotland


2 oz butter
4 chicken portions
1 heaped tablespoon flour
1 heaped tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of curry powder


Melt the butter in a shallow roasting tin in the oven. Dip the pieces of chicken in the butter and then coat with the flour, cheese, salt and curry powder, all mixed together. Lay them in the baking tin in a single layer, skin side down. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven Mark 7, 427° F., for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken skin side up over and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown and tender. Serve plain with green salad and sauté potatoes and cream gravy. To make cream gravy, sprinkle a rounded tablespoon of seasoned flour into the buttery residue in the pan and stir it over a gentle heat for a minute. Stir in 1/4 pint chicken stock and then 1/4 pint single cream. Boil rapidly for several minutes, stirring all the time.

This recipe, taken from Margaret Costa’s Four Seasons Cookery Book (Sphere Books, 1972), played an important part in my life. It is absolutely delicious, and incredibly easy to make – a foolproof success. I was single in the mid-1970s, and decided to go to cookery evening classes. I wanted to improve the quality and variety of my cooking, and maybe to meet somebody. I achieved the former, but not the latter. Not long after, however, I did meet someone I liked who was already an excellent cook. I hoped that my new skills would be an asset, if only to be able speak knowledgably about the different types of pastry and sauces. Every week we used to have a cooking evening, for which we would plan a menu and each of us would make one course. This recipe was one of my great successes, and now, after we have been married for more than 30 years, it still makes an appearance and is consumed with much pleasure. These days, however, it is my wife who makes it, and my contribution does not often extend to making the second course!


Hamish H. Johnston is the author of Matthew Forster Heddle: Minerologist and Mountaineer. This biography chronicles the life of one of Scotland’s most famous mineralogists, Orkney-born Matthew Forster Heddle (1828-97). His legacy includes The Mineralogy of Scotland, and more than 5700 specimens now in the National Museums Scotland collection. Written by the Heddle’s great-great-grandson the book offers a far richer portrait of this larger-than-life character than anything that has appeared before.

Matthew Forster Heddle: Minerologist and Mountaineer is published by National Museums Scotland.