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Operation Oven Fried Chicken

Sun Oct 28, 2007

fried chicken

Spicy Oven Fried Chicken

When I was in college my roommate Jamie and I loved to watch movies. We often bribed each other to stop procrastinating with films: if you write the first three pages of your 10-page paper, you get to watch a half hour of a movie and one cocktail, when you finish the next three pages you get another half hour and another drink. Eventually, we’d sit and watch the end of the movie, tipsy, relaxed and overjoyed that our work was done. The movie selections varied, though kitschy romantic comedies were a perennial fave. Some choices were outright ridiculous and eventually led to additional procrastination, like Pauly Shore’s “Son-in-Law.” There’s a scene in the movie where Pauly Shore enjoys a farm-fresh country meal highlighted by crispy fried chicken. The chicken always looked so moist and delicious, punctuated by the cacophonous crunch of perfectly battered, golden skin that you could practically feel the grease dripping down your hands. The power of suggestion was overwhelming; inevitably, we’d pause the movie and head out of the house for fast-food fried chicken.

While I’ve sworn off fast food these days I still have moments when I can’t shake the craving for fried chicken. My mother has always made an oven-fried version that’s tasty, though never satisfyingly crispy. And so, with the World Series underway and a gaggle of boys coming over to watch the game, I embarked on a serious mission: Operation Oven Fried Chicken.

I scanned recipes in magazines and online, reading recipe reviews on Epicurious for feedback regarding homemade breadcrumbs, store-bought breadcrumbs, panko and breadcrumb-panko combinations, until I conceived a plan.

Spicy Oven Fried Chicken

2 cups Panko*
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp Ancho chile powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp Grana Padana or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 egg
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
10 Free-Range Chicken Drumsticks soaked in buttermilk (minimum two hours, up to 12)

Ahead of time: Lay out drumsticks and cover with buttermilk, seasoned with salt and pepper. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own by using two tbsp of cider vinegar and enough milk to equal two cups. Let soak for at least two hours and up to 12, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix Panko, spices, salt and cheese in a shallow, flat-bottomed dish. (The spices tend to settle so you’ll need to re-mix a couple of times during the process.) In another dish, crack the egg, add a tablespoon of water and whisk until fluffy. Take a drumstick from the buttermilk and let any excess liquid quickly drip off. Dredge through egg and then roll into breading mixture, pressing, if necessary to help the coating stick. Place on a rack on a sprayed baking sheet and repeat with remaining drumsticks. Let chicken rest for about 15 minutes and up to a half hour. If you have an oven-safe rack that fits on your baking sheet, you can bake the drumsticks on those. If not, move the chicken directly to the baking sheet. Drizzle drumsticks with melted butter and place on the middle rack of a hot oven until golden and crispy on the outside and cooked through, about 45 minutes.

I served this fried chicken with spinach sautéed with fresh chopped garlic and garlic mashed potatoes. The results were phenomenal. The chicken was tender and juicy with a nice tang from the buttermilk and the skin was remarkably crispy with a little kick. The *Panko proved the trick. This Japanese-style breadcrumb, used for dishes like Tonkatsu, is bigger and drier and almost tendril-like, adding a delicately snappy texture. The boys all lapped up their allotted drumsticks and through their crunching all gave their approval. Fun, functional and better than most deep fried versions, this will definitely remain part of my repertoire, even after baseball season inevitably ends (likely tonight) and just in case I’m procrastinating on a story and decide to watch “Son-in-Law” instead.

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5 Responses to “Operation Oven Fried Chicken”

 
  1. ramon Says:

    sounds so yummy! I guess now that the sox have won its back to patriot games eh? 😉

    un beso desde españa!

    ramon

  2. swirlingnotions Says:

    I’ve been CRAVING fried chicken . . . as good as fried without the fried. So thank you so very much for this recipe!

  3. swirlingnotions Says:

    So I DID make this recipe on Monday and it WAS fantastic. Thanks again!

  4. Alchemizzle Says:

    I can attest to the crunchy brilliance!

    Yum!!! 😀

  5. Farm Fresh Says:

    Hey! I found your blog via Google while searching for farm fresh and your post regarding on Oven Fried Chicken | SpicySaltySweet looks very interesting to me

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