Feb 19, 2010

Fried Chicken


Fried Chicken is the new Pork Belly.

I succumbed to temptations of "ethnic food" in NY recently, but frankly I'm still looking around.  I still hate pasta. The best you can say about any pizza is that it is almost as good as Pepe's or Al Forno. There really doesn't seem to any Chinese food that's working for me right now-- despite my insatiable quest for soup dumplings-- Chinatown of course, but we even went to Flushing and Astoria in search. (There are, though, surprisingly good Chinese Massages in unexpectedly convenient spots.)
Still my restaurant preference stays: local, small, friendly, honest. Organic, but I'm not fanatic I just like the food better. I am hardly ever disappointed. I've also learned to order only a main, or 2 apps, but not more. The comfort food trend means huge, and heavy. I have also been fantasizing about ordering dessert to go. No its not (just) ADD. It seems criminal not to try them, but the truth is, at 10:30 I am always hunting chocolate.

The trend that seems to really have caught on is Fried Chicken, so I decided to work up the perfect recipe.
 I know my readers know my method: hit the interweb. I was hearing Paula Deen in my head, remembered a good result from Gourmet's article ages ago about Bon Ton.  Emeril? nah, Alton, worth a check, nod to Korean something. Tom Keller --puhleeeze- I'm going with Empire parts from TJ.
Lots of choices. Lots of "the most important thing" so herewith my result. Sorry, no measurements, but I will estimate and describe.

I'm sure you know about my passion for brining, so the rinsed chicken parts went into my seasoned mock buttermilk
* 2-3 cup soy milk mixed with
   2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
   Tabasco or other hot sauce (I used about 2 T)
   Splash of Worcestershire, some salt
Here you could/substitute liquid smoke,chili, turmeric, old bay, garlic powder, Emeril seasoning, paprika

I left it there for about an hour and a half. I thought that was good.
Recipes start at 45 minutes and go to four days,

Tons of recipes said Cast Iron skillet. Check. Poured in 1 1/2 inches of Canola. Heated it up.
Lard? Crisco? Butter? Peanut Oil? Wesson with an Onion? all possiblilites you can try.


Now the coating. I wanted crisp, thick, flaky, crisp, salty, spicy- did I say crisp?

I just decided to combine all the best suggestions. So herewith- the United Nations of Chicken Dredging. Throw it all in a plastic bag.

4 cups self-rising flour (I used White Lily for that southn' touch, honeychile)
3 Tbs. Corn Starch
Kosher Salt, lots and lots of fresh ground pepper good shake of smoked paprika, chipotle
1/2 cup Panko

you can think about more Old Bay, cayenne, turmeric, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, cornflake crumbs


Lift the chicken out of the "buttermilk", drain off excess. Put one piece at a time into the seasoned flour and shake well. Put pieces to dry on rack. Dry 45 minutes (or 2 hours, or overnight)

Heat oil to 325. Try to keep the temperature as close as you can to 325 the whole time.


Add the chicken, don't crowd them, turning occasionally until they are a deep caramel brown. About 20 minutes total. I was very happy to have a deep fry thermometer, but it kept falling into the oil. And I was very glad I had a splatter guard. I used an instant read to check inside, but when the pieces look done take them out and put back on rack.

Served with Baby Spinach and Mushroom salad with Champagne Vinegar, and a Riesling. 

Anyway, YUM... I'll put my fried chicken up against any Redhead's-- or Blonde's.

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