Friday, December 19, 2008

Ultimate Fried Chicken

Cook Time: 30 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


* 1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces
* Kosher salt
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons garlic powder
* 2 tablespoons onion powder
* 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
* 2 teaspoons cayenne
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 quart buttermilk
* 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (recommended: Srirachi)
* Peanut oil, for frying
* 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
* 3 big sprigs fresh rosemary
* 1/4 bunch fresh sage
* 1/2 head garlic, smashed, husk still attached
* Lemon wedges, for serving


Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Cover the chicken with water
by 1 inch; add 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water used.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a large shallow platter, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion
powder, paprika, and cayenne until well blended; season generously
with salt and pepper. In another platter combine the buttermilk and
hot sauce with a fork and season with salt and pepper.

Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces, a few at a time,
in the flour mixture,then dip them into the buttermilk; dredge them
again in the seasoned flour. Set aside and let the chicken rest while
you prepare the oil.

Put about 3 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up
more than half way. Add the thyme, rosemary, sage, and garlic to the
cool oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil registers 350 to
365 degrees F on one of those clip-on deep-fry thermometers. The herbs
and garlic will perfume the oil with their flavor as the oil comes up
to temperature.

Once the oil has reached 350 to 365 degrees F, working in batches,
carefully add the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time. Fry, turning the
pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 12 minutes.
Total cooking time should be about 30 minutes. When the chicken is
done, take a big skimmer and remove the chicken pieces and herbs from
the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and lay it on a tea towel
or brown paper bag to soak up the oil. Sprinkle all over with more
salt and a dusting of cracked black pepper. Repeat with the remaining
chicken pieces. Once all the chicken is fried, scatter the fried herbs
and garlic over the top. Serve hot, with big lemon wedges.

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