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Go nuts over chicken’s crunchy batter

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Question: Could you please get me a recipe from the dining room at the Ramada Resort Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla.? The dish was Chicken Macadamia. It was a fried chicken with a batter that included macadamia nuts and was absolutely marvelous.

- Betty Ihlan, Minneapolis

Answer: Busch Gardens in Tampa, one of the largest tourist attractions in the United States, is a kaleidoscope of rides, shows and attractions, featuring such entertainments as bird and dolphin shows, a zoo, a flume and even a live TV talk show. The daring will want to take a ride on Kumba, the roller coaster that is billed as "high as a mountain, long as a river and swift as the wind." The white-knuckler roars to a height of 143 feet at speeds of up to 60 mph along a 4,000-foot track. Folks leave their stomachs hanging in midair as the roller coaster plummets down a section of track promoted as the world's largest ver-tical drop!

If you have two days, buy combo tickets to Busch Gardens and Adventure Island (adults $40.56, children 3-9 $33.90), and take time to explore Adventure Island, the family water park located just one mile from Busch Gardens, minutes from downtown Tampa, less than an hour from the Gulf Coast beaches and an easy drive from Walt Disney World. Aruba Tuba, a 420-foot open and enclosed tunnel slide, is not for the faint of heart!

The Macadamia Chicken you enjoyed is served in Apricots, the restaurant in the Ramada Resort Busch Gardens. The chicken fillets are encased in a macadamia nut batter, which keeps the meat moist and tender while teasing the palate with crunchy flavor!

America a la Carte welcomes recipe requests. Send the complete address of the restaurant along with your name, address and phone number to: America a la Carte, P.O. Box 5994, Austin, TX 78763-5994; or fax: (512) 453-2145.)

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Recipes

MACADAMIA CHICKEN

3 tablespoons macadamia nuts

3 slices bread, day old and slightly dry

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup cream or milk

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 (7-ounce) chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

21/2 tablespoons dry white wine or white grape juice

30 slices canned peaches, diced

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Place macadamia nuts in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse briefly to coarse chop. Slice bread into strips. Add bread to food processor and pulse briefly to crumb bread, and combine bread and nuts. Pour breading mixture into large bowl. Set aside. Combine eggs and milk in large bowl, whisking to blend. Set aside. Place flour in bowl. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Dredge each chicken breast in flour, dip into egg wash and pat in breading to coat before placing in hot skillet to saute and brown. Remove chicken from skillet and place uncovered in baking dish. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and finish cooking process by baking in oven 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place skillet back over medium heat. Add wine and reduce slightly. Stir in peaches and cream and reduce down to a cream sauce. Add orange juice concentrate, salt and pepper. Stir to blend well.

Remove chicken from oven and top with sauce. Makes 4 servings.