BUT MR K, I hear you shouting, because you don't know how to pronounce my last name. What about the chicken!?
Settle down, kitten.
The chicken-fried steak did indeed leave behind a poorly-lit skinless chicken:
And what can you do with a poorly-lit skinless chicken? Not a fuck of a lot. Roasting it would dry it out.
But you've overlooked something:
That was way too little steak!
That's right, while you're all fussing over the skinless chicken, you neglected to think about the fact that a chicken hasn't got much skin to begin with, so I must have had some steak tips left over from the package. What became of them?
They were ground up with paprika paste, scallions, pepper ketchup, and Activa, and then mixed in with goat cheese and rolled into a caseless sausage:
The sausage is on the dry side because the steak was leaner than you'd usually use for sausage, but that's okay -- besides, we're mostly testing technique here. I sliced the sausage and had some of it cold with pea shoots and "stuffed eggs," another Activa experiment: I just made deviled eggs and then bound the two halves back together, and sliced them. If you look at the egg on the far left, you can see that the Activa is visible -- Activa TG-RM includes a little protein in the mix to help make a bond, and because I used a little more than I needed to and couldn't get the eggs to stay perfectly flush against each other, the Activa sort of filled the gap like caulk.
In both cases, the result is functional but not especially exciting. Though I expect to do more with sausage in the future.
NOW, what about the chicken? Well, we gave it a different skin. After marinating the skinless chicken overnight in slightly diluted hot sauce (we will discuss homemade pepper mash extensively in a future post), I bonded bacon to as much of its surface as I could:
This is a case where Activa is handy, but not necessary: berks bard birds with bacon all the btime, the Activa just helps it stay there, and keep from falling off when it cooks. It DID work to keep the chicken from drying out -- the breast was nicely moist and flavorful.
The fact that the bacon is cured doesn't interfere with the bonding at all -- in fact, salt helps a bit. Cooked bacon wouldn't bond, but that's because of the fatty portion -- rendered fat has no protein, but when uncooked, the fatty portion still has a little. Still, the bacon didn't make "as tight a seal," I guess you'd say, as the chicken skin had done.
And there you go, round one of the Activa experiments. All in all, transglutaminase is a hell of an interesting thing to work with.