Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Airline Chicken Breast – Come Pan-Fry the Friendly Skies

Welcome to another episode of food you only see in restaurants, starring the always eye-catching “airline chicken” breast. Legend has it that the name comes from the fact this cut of chicken is shaped like an airplane wing, but that’s not actually the reason. 

This beautiful breast is known as airline chicken because it was such a popular menu item back in the day, when airlines still gave their guests real food. Above and beyond the wing-like shape, this worked so well is because food for air travel needs to be cooked way ahead of time, which means it can dry out, especially something like a chicken breast, but by leaving the wing joint attached, that becomes a little less likely. Plus, once you finished your breast, you got to eat a chicken wing drumette. Now that’s value-added service.

As I mentioned in the video, please feel free to use whatever spices and seasoning you wish, since that will not affect the technique at all. I should have used fresh herbs inside for a little nicer appearance once sliced, but I think I more than made up for that with the sprig of rosemary. Regardless of how you flavor yours, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

11 comments:

Josh said...

We had a butcher that used to present breasts with the wing attached. They were very flavorful but I usually would overcook the breast part and undercook the wing part. I would end up removing it and cooking it seperately. What's the best method for even cooking? The butcher has sadly since closed, they had stupid hours, 10-6.

Will R. said...

Hi Chef John, i can't wait to try this. I'm dying to know, how did you come to find out about this recipe, and that it was used for old time flights? Do you know any other "golden age of flight" recipes you could share with us, or resources to learn of such things? I really enjoy the stories about these old-school recipes (your other recipes are awesome, too, of course). Thanks for all the great lessons, all the best!

Unknown said...

Chief John, what does the vinegar do for the sauce. Or, why is it included?

Unknown said...

Where do i find the recipe?

Usngunner@toolsofatryrant.com said...

Nice recipe. I never cook to 165 anymore. No need at all. Much better poultry and pork that way.

Michael Persico said...

to the person asking about the vinegar like he said in the video it acts as an emulsifier so, it can help bring the olive oil rendered chicken fat and butter into the sauce and make it silky smooth

AMB said...

My wife is a pastry chef and the restaurant she she works serves airline chicken breast, though they renamed it because for whatever reason people thought it was weird and didn't order it. The second they removed the airline part, people ordered it. It's one of their best sellers.

Also, airline style is very tasty, name aside.

Neil Rothschild said...

How do you manage to add some never before disclosed ever in any internet food site trick into all your techniques? I have to remember to do that tenderloin under the skin trick, even if I lose track of this article...

I agree with 155F chicken white meat/ Done it for years and lived to post this.

The science: Cooking to 165F is instant kill. So if you can get a stone cold piece of chicken chicken to 165F within 1 second, and then eat it one second after it hits 165F, you'll live.

If you cook to 155F and let it rest for 2 minutes before you eat it, you'll live too. If you want better tasting chicken it's worth learning about time/temperature and what that means in the real world. At 150F it's a 5 minute rest to do the same thing as making shoe leather at 165F. And that does not account for the bacteria killing all the way up to your cook temp so those numbers are actually unrealistically conservative.

If you cook chicken breasts to 150-155F, the biggest danger is ruining your shirt from all the juices. Don't be me! So be careful, eat safe, and watch those juices!

Neil Rothschild said...

@josh, to keep the drumstick internal temp more in line with the breast try wrapping it in foil halfway through the cook (just like a turkey, for the same reason). Personally I cook a chicken, no matter how it's parted out, to get the breast right. I'd rather dry out a wing then ruin the breast. I usually part out a chicken into 8 pieces to get it all right. Dark meat can take a higher temp, and is best at up to 175F or so. So the dark meat usually works on even a whole chicken without heroic measures like foil wrapping pieces part way through.

Wings are evil, if they're attached...

jaggededge said...

Great date night dinner. I'm trying to eat less meat but I had to try this. LOL. I despise cutting up chickens myself and usually buy pieces but for this I went ahead and did the cutting. Yuck. LOL.

Tom said...

Hello Chef! Wonderful video, I remember flying as a young lad in the '60's and remember vividly wearing (at my parents insistence) my best "Sunday-go-to-meeting" clothes and eating a fairly good meal in-flight.But I do have a technical question for you - I noticed you didn't address the thigh bone in terms of "Frenching" the bone - I am a student at a local community college where I live pursuing a Culinary Arts certificate and the rule of thumb taught by the instructor Chef is always French the thigh bone when preparing an Airline Chicken Breast. Watching your video gives me hope as I am not very good at butchering yet. Do you have any thoughts on the issue?I'm very happy to watch your videos, I've use two of your video recipes while attending class and have received top grades - thank you and look forward to you continuing your wonderful videos!