I finally got the cookbook “Ad Hoc at Home” by Thomas Keller. It’s an amazing book! Beautifully illustrated and full of wisdom. After leafing through it, I decided I was going to make the Fried Chicken. How hard could it be? Well, it wasn’t so hard as it was time consuming. Mr. Keller is a gourmet chef and he really can’t leave that behind. His recipes are very well written, full of detail. Although this book is all about “home cooking”, I wouldn’t call it a book for beginners. The recipes are about making what sounds homey into something unbelievable. This ain’t your mama’s fried chicken.
Looks tasty, doesn’t it? It is. The recipe didn’t start with, “On Day One”. Maybe it should have. Here’s the short version of the technique.
- Make the brine with kosher salt, water, lemon halves, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, thyme and peppercorns
- Let brine cool to room temp
- Add chicken pieces and refrigerate 12 hours
- Remove chicken from brine and pat dry
- Place on drying wrack for 2 1/2 hours on the counter to come to room temp
- Mix two bowls of flour dredge adding garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper
- Pour a quart of buttermilk into a separate bowl, season with salt and pepper
- Heat oil approx two inches deep
- Dredge chicken, dip in buttermilk, dredge in other bowl of flour
- Sit on parchment lined tray until time to fry
- Fry 3 – 4 pieces at time at about 320 for 10-12 minutes or so
- Sit on a draining wrack while you fry the rest
Here’s the whole set up…
Notice how it stretches almost entirely across my kitchen? That’s chicken, way back there by the sink.
No biggie, huh? Unless, of course, you put the chicken in the brine at 3:oo in the afternoon, not realizing you’ll need to take it out at 3:0o in the morning. Here’s a good reason to always read completely through your recipe before you begin and to set up a little time-line in your head for how it’s going to go.
Two days after I began… was this chicken juicy? Absolutely. Did the thick, crispy crust adhere wonderfully to the skin? Yes sir, it did. The flavor of the meat and the crust was fantastic.
My only disappointment? After two days, it was still just fried chicken. Damn good fried chicken. But, only fried chicken. I never made fried chicken before this in my whole life. Why? I’d rather have chicken fried steak. I should have made gravy.
Sure is pretty, though, isn’t it?
Next up!? Pork Belly!!