Fried Chicken: How to Make it & Where to Eat it

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Last Saturday was National Fried Chicken Day. While I commemorated the holiday with a delicious plate from Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn, you can celebrate any day with your own recipe made at home, or from one of the dozens of fantastic restaurants in the city that purvey it. Fried chicken might just be the perfect summer food. It’s picnic portable, you can eat it with your hands, and it’s equally delicious hot out of the fryer or cold the next day. And once you get your recipe and technique down, you can whip up a batch in the same amount of time required to fire up your grill.

How To Make It:

My favorite fried chicken recipe comes from the Blue Ribbon Cookbook. They kindly published the method to get their crave-worthy fried chicken, which they serve up at Blue Ribbon Brasserie in NYC. Below, I’ve detailed my slight interpretation on their recipe. Give it a try, and I swear it’s the best fried chicken you’ll ever have. The matzo meal gives the chicken an incredible crunch, and the honey served alongside is irresistible for dipping and drizzling. They serve theirs with a heap of mashed potatoes and gravy, and a side of garlicky collard greens, but I’d be content to eat this with just about any accompaniment.

Ingredients

  • Buttermilk: (3 cups)
  • Canola oil (or Crisco if you must) for frying
  • 1/4 teaspoon each dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and dried parsley
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces (have your butcher do this if you’re squeamish, or buy one of the ready-made “fryer packs” at the supermarket)
  • Plenty of kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • Honey for serving

Directions:

  1. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken pieces, and allow to marinate for as long as you’ve got, hopefully an hour, up to overnight. This tenderizes the chicken and gives it flavor.
  2. Pour canola oil into a large dutch oven to about 3 inches deep, and heat over medium until it reaches 375 degrees. Heat it slowly or it will catch on fire- I learned the hard way!
  3. Combine your spices in a bowl and set aside. Combine your flour, matzo, baking powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper in another bowl.
  4. Drain the buttermilk off the chicken, then dip each piece into the beaten eggs, then into the matzo mixture, pressing the chicken to coat. Shake off the excess and set on a baking sheet while you finish the batch.
  5. Working in two or three batches, fry the chicken for 12-15 minutes, turning once during cooking, until golden brown, and cooked through.
  6. While the chicken is still warm, toss it with your spice mixture to coat, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm with honey on the side.

Notes: If you’d like your fried chicken to have a more sweet & spicy Korean flair, you can toss it while its still warm with some sweet chili sauce.

Lightened Up Oven Fried Chicken
For a lighter spin on classic fried chicken, try oven “frying” your chicken. None of the mess and fat, and all of the flavor and satisfaction of the original.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup Vegenaise or low fat mayonnaise (See note)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain gluten-free bread crumbs or panko
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 chicken tenders (these crisp up best)
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil (not your best extra virgin oil)
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the Vegenaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice.
  3. In another bowl, whish together the bread crumbs or panko, the Old Bay Seasoning, and the salt and pepper.
  4. Dry your chicken tenders with a paper towel to help your coating stick. Working one by one, coat each tender first in the mustard mixture and then in the crumb mixture, making sure to coat all sides evenly. Lay the finished tenders on your bakng sheets, leaving some room between them. Drizzle each tender lightly with your olive oil.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes, then flip the tenders over and broil for 2 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
  6. Serve immediately with crispy sweet potato fries and homemade honey mustard sauce (recipe below).

Honey Mustard Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Vegenaise or low fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 lemon

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together Vegenaise or low fat mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: If you can’t find Vegenaise (a vegan and healthy version of mayonnaise), you can make it at home with this easy recipe: http://elizabethpalmerkitchen.com/homemade-vegenaise/.

Where to Eat It:

If you like your chicken served up with a side of waffles, head to Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn. They serve up their tender, crispy chicken with a side of cheddar waffles and a side of their  homemade tangy pickles. Heaven on earth. You can also find Buttermilk Channel at Smorgasburg Saturdays (Williamsburg) and Sundays (Dumbo) in Brooklyn. Definitely worth the trip, and the lines.

David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar also serves up an incredible plate of fried chicken. If you’ve got a part of 4-8 people, make a reservation for the fried chicken dinner. You’ll get a feast of two whole chickens, one served sweet, spicy and saucy Korean style, the other with a more traditional Southern flair tinged with Old Bay Seasoning.

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