We’re Obsessed With Missy Robbins’ Polenta Fried Chicken

At our #saveursupper, the Lilia chef filled our plates with tasty dishes like ricotta gnocchi and avocado with bottarga

By Alex Testere

Published on September 28, 2017

These avocados with pistachios and bottarga made us fall in love all over again with the avocado trend.

Missy Robbins has a lot of stories to tell. Thankfully, when she's not sitting across from you, regaling you with the accounts of her pasta-making training in Italy, her new book, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner...Life is there to keep the craving satisfied. On Tuesday, Missy and her team from Lilia visited the SAVEUR Test Kitchen to celebrate and prepare a meal culled from its pages, a unique story behind each dish.

The evening opened up with anchovies—heaps of them, piled atop soft bread smeared with butter and a spoonful of salsa verde. Salty, herbaceous, and rich, we couldn't get enough of them, particularly when washed down with Negronis and Aperol Spritzes from Campari. Accompanying the anchovies were deviled egg toasts—Missy's playful re-imagination of deviled eggs, just without the boiled egg white that only serves as a vessel for garlicky, yolky goodness. And in this case, a generous sprinkling of shaved bottarga.

A vegetable medley made up the first course: shaved carrots topped with shimmering white anchovies and crumbled feta; roasted fennel with balsamic and Parmigiano; and the visually striking grilled avocados, smothered in pistachios and ribbons of bottarga. A lighter salad of green apples and little gem lettuces was also present, though not without a healthy smattering of Gruyère.

By the time the pasta course rolled around, the kitchen crew were dutifully manning their stations. Tender, fresh ricotta gnocchi went into heavily salted boiling water, but just for a few moments. One was pulled out, the texture gently tested with a forefinger, before the batch was strained out and passed down the line to be tossed in a pan of Missy's softly simmering 30-garlic-clove tomato sauce, which was tasted every few moments to ensure that the flavor was just right.

Next followed the main course, fried chicken brined in a salty green tea and enveloped in a polenta batter. A deep fry in chicken fat and a dusting of fennel pollen and chile flakes transformed it even further. Missy recounted the story of this dish, which came from sitting on the couch and watching Sean Brock make fried chicken on TV. The craving needed to be met, and so Missy's own version was formed.

And just when everyone thought they were losing steam, a simple vanilla ice cream affogato topped off the meal, swapping out the espresso for a buzz-worthy homemade cold brew concentrate that kept everyone swapping stories throughout the night—another one for the books.

Photographer Melanie Dunea, SAVEUR Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs, and editor Kate Krader stop for a selfie.
Chef Missy Robbins took over our test kitchen for the night to celebrate her new cookbook, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner...Life, which she produced with her collaborators writer Carrie King and photographer Evan Sung.
Photographer Evan Sung, writer Carrie King, and chef Missy Robbins hold their new cookbook with excitement.
We sipped on cocktails provided by Campari throughout the night, including this "Perfect Negroni."
We pre-gamed dinner with this salted anchovies, salsa verde on bread.
Meatmaster Jake Dickson and Test Kitchen Director Stacy Adimando raise a glass.
Restaurateur Joe Campanale, Lilia's Sean Feeney, Fausto chef Erin Shambura and Program Director of Brooklyn Foodworks Ilyssa Satter pose for a photo.
As a pre-dinner snack, we enjoyed Missy Robbins' appetizers and spirits provided by Campari.
During the cocktail hour, we enjoyed snacks like this nduja, ricotta and fig crostini.
SAVEUR Director of Partnerships James LaRusso, and The Winebow Group Senior Marketing Manager Mindy Dhillon pose for a photo.
We celebrated the launch of Missy Robbins' new book with cocktails provided by Campari and Aperol Spritz.
Restaurateur Gabe Stulman and publicist Evyn Block pose for a photo.
We sipped on Aperol Spritz during cocktail hour.
Photographer Melanie Dunea, EyeSwoon's Athena Calderone, Victor Calderone and SAVEUR Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs pose for a group shot.
Chef Missy Robbins prepared a vegetarian dish complete with carrots, white anchovies and feta.
Chef Missy Robbins put the finishing touches on the carrots and feta dish.
SAVEUR Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs and Chef Missy Robbins point to Photographer Evan Sung to thank him for his beautiful work on the new book.
Chef Missy Robbins incorporated Lilia Restaurant's Italian influences into the meal with this tasty ricotta gnocchi.
To accompany our main course, we savored sides like chicken fat potatoes.
Lilia Restaurant's Sean Feeney and his wife Maria pose for a photo with chef Missy Robbins.
For our main course, we devoured this polenta-crusted chicken.
We ended the night with a satisfying taste of affogato.
Chef Missy Robbins and SAVEUR Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs were all smiles during the feast.

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