Monday, September 03, 2007

Not Your Mom's Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is not easy to make. It takes a good cook with great instinct to keep the oil at just the right temperature. A mistake can lead to a burned crust, undercooked chicken, or both. Over the years, I've learned how to do it, but sometimes I want fried chicken without all the effort. Here's a recipe that accomplishes just that. It's so good I served it at the wine dinner I hosted in August. I used breast tenderloins and cut into bite-sized pieces. Just reduced the cooking time some. It was a wonderful nibble to enjoy with a glass of sparkling wine.

Spicy Oven-Fried Chicken
Makes 6 servings.

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large onion, sliced
12 chicken pieces (breasts, thighs and drumsticks) with skin and bones

1 cup dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Whisk buttermilk, oil, hot pepper sauce, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend well. Add onion, then chicken and turn to coat. Cover; chill at least 3 hours or up to 1 day, turning chicken occasionally.

Place racks on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Whisk breadcrumbs, cheese, flour, thyme, paprika, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in large baking dish to blend. Remove chicken from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Add chicken to breadcrumb mixture and turn to coat completely.

Arrange chicken, skin side up, on racks on baking sheets. Let stand 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Drizzle butter over chicken. Bake until crisp, golden and cooked through, about 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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