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American Flavor_TX_5p.r.

indd 116 8/19/11 11:41 AM

The great fried chicken debate is all about the inside 2 teaspoons chili powder
versus the outside: is super-super-crispy skin key to 2 teaspoons garlic powder
killer fried chicken, or is super-juicy meat more impor- 2 teaspoons onion powder
tant? Like the best pizza or burger, its all about per- 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
sonal taste (personally, Ill go for succulent meat over 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
crispiness every time). Fried chicken that hits the skin 2 teaspoons ground celery seed
and the meat is about as easy to nd as a unicorn or 4 teaspoons salt
a four-leaf clovers, but I like to think this recipe is as 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
close as youre going to get.

Fried chicken is really hot right now, but Ive been doing TO MAKE THE BUTTERMILK MARINADE

it in my restaurants since way before the Great Com- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk together
fort Food Revolution. Back when I was cooking uptown with the cayenne, Old Bay, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and
at Caf Boulud, we were making fried chicken dinners honey.
to go, packaging them up with my buttermilk biscuits
Put the chicken pieces in the mixing bowl and submerge
(page 239), A.C.s collards (page 172), and Anthonys
them in the buttermilk marinade. Cover the bowl with
Slaw (page 170). (It made me very happy when we deliv-
plastic wrap, put it in the fridge, and let the chicken
ered one of those dinners to a fancy uptown doorman
marinate for at least 12 hours.
building.) So I can tell you for sure that this is the best
fried chicken ever. Period. Ever. The key is the butter-
milk soak.
Pull the chicken out of the fridge and let it come up to
room temperature, still in the marinade (this will take
about 45 minutes).

FOR THE BUTTERMILK MARINADE Preheat the oven to 200F.

1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk
Heat the oil in a deep pot or a deep-fryer over high
/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
heat. The oil should be 3 inches deep, and it should be
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
so hot that it starts popping (about 350F). A good rule
2 teaspoons salt
of thumb: if you drop a pinch of our into the oil and it
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
fries up immediately, youre good to go.
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons honey While the oil is heating, combine the our, paprika, chili
powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Old Bay, cayenne
pepper, celery seed, salt, and pepper in a large mixing
2 chickens (2 pounds eachyou dont want huge
bowl. Mix things around with your hands so everything
chickens for this), cut up into pieces
is distributed evenly. Pour half of the mixture into a
2 quarts corn oil
small bowl and set it aside.
4 cups all-purpose our
4 teaspoons paprika >>>


American Flavor_TX_5p.r.indd 117 8/19/11 11:41 AM

Add the our to the large bowl and mix well. Hold the fried chicken in the oven until all the pieces
are fried and rested and youre ready to serve it up.
When the oil is hot, pull a piece of chicken out of the
Then pile the chicken on a big plate, put it in the cen-
marinade. Put it right into the dredging our bowl and
ter of the table with biscuits, collards, and slaw, and
heap our on top of it; ip it around until the chicken is
let everybody start grabbing pieces. I guarantee it will
completely coated. Do the same with each piece until
disappear fast.
theres no more space in the bowl.

Pick up a piece of chicken, give it a light shake (just

enough to get rid of the really loose bits of our),
and use your hands or a pair of tongs to drop it into KITCHEN AIR CLE ANER
the fry pot. Do the same with the rest of the chicken
pieces. (You will denitely need to fry your chicken in
batches, unless youve got some really big bowls and You know I love the smell of great food cooking,
pots.) but sometimes the aromaof fried chicken, for ex-
amplesticks around a little longer than youd like.
Let the chicken fry for about 8 minutes, until its golden
Heres an easy way to get your place smelling pretty
brown. Pull the chicken pieces out of the fryer with
tongs and put them on a rack set on a baking sheet.
Fill a big pot with a quart of water. Add a tablespoon
Sprinkle each piece of chicken with the seasoning mix-
of ground cinnamon, a couple of pieces of star
ture, using the tongs to turn the piece so its coated on
anise, a handful of cardamom pods, and a couple
all sides.
tablespoons of honey. Set the pot on the stove, let
Put the baking sheet in the oven. The chicken pieces it come up to a boil, and then just let it boil away.
should rest in the oven for at least 10 minutes, so that The aroma of the boiling spices will cut right through
the cooking process nishes. Meanwhile, fry up the grease smells and other kitchen odorsand it smells
next batch of chicken. a hell of a lot better than some perfume stick you
plug into a wall.


American Flavor_TX_5p.r.indd 118 8/19/11 11:41 AM