What to eat in a bikini

Brazilian fried chicken + potato salad + rice
By LINDSAY STERLING  |  July 2, 2008
AT THE COOKING CABANA: Celia Fora shares her Brazilian recipes.

Brazil isn’t all about major wax jobs and itsy-bitsy bikinis. It’s also about platters of balsamic-and-garlic-rubbed fried chicken, light brown toasted rice glistening with garlic oil, and “potato salad” that makes its German-American cousin seem like a painful bore. Meet Celia Fora, a Brazilian who works for my friend’s sister. With a smile that shifts her cheekbones and eyebrows into high gear, she launches us for the next couple hours into the flavors of Minas Gerais, the region where she’s from. In the end, she shows us: eat with your hands, scoop up the potato salad and rice with the planks of fried chicken. They’re particularly good eaten all together.

Brazilian potato salad
(Serves 8-10)
Warm ingredients
6 eggs
2 large handfuls green beans, sliced to half-inch lengths
2 carrots, peeled, cut into quarter-inch-thick quarters of a circle
2 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut into quarter-inch-thick quarters of a circle
1 cup frozen or canned peas
Cold ingredients
1 tomato, cut into quarter-inch-thick quarters of a circle
5 scallions, greens and whites cut into quarter-inch-thick circles
10 stems parsley, leaves and stems roughly chopped
a quarter of a yellow onion, minced
half-cup Spanish green olives, sliced
1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 cup mayonnaise

Hardboil the eggs in one pot, and in another cook the beans, carrots, and potatoes in salted water at a low boil until they’re soft. The water should taste like soup. If it's bland, add more salt. Add peas to the boiling water until they are heated through. Strain the hot vegetables and spread them out on a cookie sheet to cool. Peel the hardboiled eggs, cut three into quarters and then in quarter-inch slices; cut the other three in quarters and reserve for the garnish. Mix the warm and cool ingredients together in a large bowl with the dressing ingredients. Spread the mixture into a casserole dish and garnish with egg, parsley sprigs, and whole green olives.

Balsamic-garlic rubbed fried chicken
6 large chicken breasts, sliced horizontally into eighth-inch-thick pieces
Wet-rub for chicken breast slices
8 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
tsp black pepper
a quarter teaspoon tsp dried oregano
1.6 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
For frying
1.5 cups milk
2 cups breadcrumbs
corn, canola, or peanut oil

Mix the wet-rub ingredients into a paste and rub over each piece of chicken with your hands, stacking rubbed chicken into a pile. Let them sit for 15 minutes (or longer in the fridge). Put the milk in a dish and the breadcrumbs on a large plate. Dip each piece of chicken in the milk, and then cover completely with breadcrumbs, pressing them into the chicken. In a 12-inch iron skillet, bring an inch of frying oil up to not quite the highest heat, and fry 4 pieces at a time until browned on each side. Dry in a colander lined with paper towels.

Toasted rice
one-eighth cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, cut into quarters, then paper-thin slices
2 cups white rice
slightly less than 1 tablespoon salt
about 4 cups hot water

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