Crunchy Parmesan Chicken
1 chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lb.), cut into quarters
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. basil
1-1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 425°F. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper
towels. Cut away any excess fat and tuck the wings behind each
Put the butter in a shallow baking pan (a 9x13-inch Pyrex pan or
large oval baking dish works well). Put the pan into the oven while
it's heating. When the butter is melted (about 10 min.), remove the
pan and set it on a heatproof surface or on a couple of potholders.
In a shallow, medium bowl, combine the Parmesan, flour, salt, basil,
paprika, cayenne, and lots of freshly ground pepper. Dredge a piece
of chicken, skin side down, in the melted butter first and then in
the cheese mixture. Use your hands, pressing gently, to coat evenly.
Turn the chicken skin side up and push it to the side of the pan.
Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
Bake, basting with the pan juices occasionally (tilt the pan and
spoon the juices from the corners), until the chicken is well
browned and cooked through, 50 to 60 min.
NOTE: With most baked chicken recipes, skin winds up crisper in the
end without basting. One exception is this recipe, where basting
actually helps to form the wonderfully crispy crust. Without
basting, the flour-cheese coating would stay dry.