Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fried Chicken

I love roasted chicken. My husband is not so fond of it. Last night when he asked what was for dinner and I said chicken, he looked kind of beaten down when he asked "roasted chicken?" "Well. I have to cook the chicken," was all I could think to say because I have been awakened by little Marshall every hour on the hour past midnight for the past two weeks and my snappy comebacks are more snappy that comeback-y I guess you could say.

But I thought about it. I flipped through my big notebook of recipes. When it fell open to the page with the fried chicken recipe I thought to myself I just can't go there. I can't go to the dark side. You know the greasy, fat-fried dark side. The reason being that I love fried chicken and I will not stop eating it once I start. This could go wrong in any number of ways that mostly will affect my health, but anyway. I grew up eating fried chicken every Sunday with mashed potatoes and gravy and salty over-cooked green beans or salty-overcooked southern greens or salty over-cooked canned corn or salty-over cooked slightly peppered canned peas (except in summer when food was fresh from the garden), and combination salad. Combination salad deserves its own post, but for those of you who aren't familiar with it - combination salad is chopped up iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumber or a few tomatoes maybe but not always, sluiced in salad dressing made from two primary ingredients - Kraft salad dressing (not mayonnaise, rather a mayonnaise-like substance) and sugar. Sugar. Oh, and iced tea - Nestea and lemon and Sugar. Sugar. God I miss my grandmother's iced tea.

So I made the fried chicken using this recipe. It was the first time the kids ever had southern fried chicken and they were skeptical. I told them: "It's like katsu chicken. Really. Sort of. Except for the bones and the lack of flatness and the light panko breading." Olivia picked the breading off. Carter ate a little of both. Then they both devoured an entire breast. Because the secret is that the inside is oh so moist and tender from all that flash fat frying, eh? And not so greasy.

Note: I did not season the flour with paprika or thyme or dried mustard like the recipe called for. I did, however, use the full 1 tablespoon of salt and pepper and a sprinkling of cayenne (the kids don't do spicy so well). It was flavorful, but a little too hard-shell. I prefer the coating to be delicately crispy and light which may be as much about my technique as about the recipe itself . The thing I like about it is that you finish it in the oven, which also helps keep it tender and moist. I also liked frying it in my big iron skillet just like grandma used to.

Now I've crossed the threshold. Fried chicken is back on the menu chez nous. I'll be experimenting with various techniques and ingredients - namely butter milk marinades and such. It's all in the name of expanding the kids' food horizons. Sure.

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