BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
It’s officially Summer in New York and last weekend we celebrated with a juicy fried chicken, biscuits, caramelized onions and miso butter corn salad. We used Thomas Keller’s recipe from his book Ad Hoc at Home.
YOU WILL NEED
Two 2 1/2 to 3 pound chicken
Chicken brine, cold
FOR DREDGING AND FRYING
Peanut or canola oil for deep-frying
1 quart buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black-pepper
Ground fleur de sel or fine sea salt
Rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnish
5 lemons, halved
12 bay leaves
1 bunch (4 ounces) flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch (1 ounce) thyme
1/2 cup clover honey
1 head garlic, halved through the equator
1/4 cup black peppercorns
2 cups (10 ounces) Kosher salt
2 gallons water
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for a minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely, then chill before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
HOW TO DO IT
1. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, 2 wings. Pour the brine into a container large enough to hold the chicken pieces, add in the chicken, and refrigerate fro 12 hours.
2. Remove the chicken from the brine (discard the brine) and rinse under cold water. removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin. Pat dry with paper towels, or let air-dry. Let rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature. If you have two large pots (about 6 inches deep) and a lot of oil, you can cook the dark and the white meat at the same time; if not, cook the dark meat first, then turn up the heat and cook the white meat. No matter what size pot you have, the oil should not come more than one-third of the way up the sides of the pot. Fill the pot with at least 2 inches of peanut oil and heat to 320°F. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Meanwhile, combine all the coating ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer half the coating to a second large bowl. Pour the buttermilk into a third bowl and season with slat and pepper. Set up a dipping station: the chicken pieces, one bowl of coating, the bowl of buttermilk, the second bowl of coating, and the parchment-lined baking sheet.
4. Just before the frying, dip the chicken thighs into the first bowl of coating, turning to coat and patting off the excess; dip them into the buttermilk, allowing the excess to run back into the bowl; then dip them into the second bowl of coating. Transfer to parchment-lined pan.
5. Carefully lower the thighs into the hot oil. Adjust the heat as necessary to return the oil to the proper temperature. Fry for 2 minutes, then carefully move the chicken pieces around in the oil and continue to fry, monitoring the oil temperature and turning the pieces as necessary for even cooking, for 11 to 12 minutes, until the chicken is a deep golden brown, cooked through, and very crisp. Meanwhile, coat the chicken drumsticks and transfer to the parchment-line baking sheet.
6. Transfer the cooked thighs to the cooling rack skin-side-up and let rest while you fry the remaining chicken. (Putting the pieces skin-side-up will allow excess fat drain, whereas leaving them skin-side-down could trap some of the fat.) Make sure that the oil is at the correct temperature,and cook the chicken drumsticks. When the drumsticks are done, lean them meat-side up against the thighs to drain, then sprinkle the chicken with fine sea salt.
7. Turn up the heat and heat the oil to 340°F. Meanwhile, coat the chicken breast and wings. Carefully lower the chicken breast into the oil and fry for 7 minutes, or until golden brown, cooked through, and crisp. Transfer to the rack, sprinkle with salt, and turn skin side up. Cook the wings for 6 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the wings to the rack and turn off the heat.
8. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Add the herb spring to the oil (which will be still hot) and let them cook and crisp for a few seconds, then arrange them over the chicken.