Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Best Fried Chicken

Back in June I posted a recipe for Fish and Chips aka Fried Chicken in our house.  I also mentioned at the time that you can use the same recipe for chicken.

Over the past few months, I've made that recipe several times alternately for Fish, serving it with Tartar Sauce, and Chicken, serving it with BBQ sauce.  When I make the recipe using fish, I typically use Tilapia or an inexpensive thin white fish.  I do cut the fillets to the size of fish sticks/strips that I want.  With the flour coating, it is better to cut the fillets.  It makes a better serving size for children and adults.

When I use the recipe for Chicken, I use chicken breasts and slice it into strips, again whatever size my family prefers.  I would recommend adding seasoning to the flour.  I love the Montreal Chicken seasoning, so I add a good sprinkling of that to the flour before I begin the coating process.  But, add whatever spices you like and add them to taste.  One last trick that I've found over time is that I use a slotted spoon to flip the pieces over in the frying process--not tongs.  I've tried tongs and then tend to tear the coating off.  If I use a spoon instead, I'm able to gently flip them over.  

So, here's a revised copy of the recipe I posted back in June...

Fill your pan with about 3/4-1" canola oil and heat over med high heat until you can sprinkle a little water on it and it pops.  You don't want your oil to be too hot because the coating can cook too quickly and not cook the chicken or fish inside.  But, if it's not hot enough, the oil will simply soak into the fish or chicken.  That's the best way I can think of to describe it.  Once the oil has gotten hot enough, you can turn it down a little to keep it at a good steady heat.

Dip the strips of white fish or chicken in 3/4 c. buttermilk (regular milk also works just fine) and 1 egg mixture, then dip in flour (w/whatever seasoning you want or just salt and pepper).  Then REPEAT!  Egg once more and flour again.  Heat oil in deep skillet and fry.  The coating sticks =)  Yahoo!  And it's awesome.   Cook 3-5 minutes on a side.  The order is what is key.  Because you end with the flour, it keeps from sticking to the bottom if there's enough oil in the pan.  (But do keep an eye on it when you first put it in so that the pieces aren't on top of each other and they have space--not a ton, but enough so that they aren't touching and that you can turn them over)

Sometimes I fry it in a cast iron chicken fryer pan that I bought at a garage sale last week and it works great.  The sides are about 4 inches.  Otherwise I use my deep dish cast iron skillet, whose sides are about 2" tall.   It was like a deep dish skillet.  

Serve fish with lemon wedges and tartar sauce (mayonaise, pickle relish, and lemon juice all mixed to taste) and chicken with BBQ sauce, ketchup, or whatever sauce your family loves!

I was quite skeptical of how well it would fry before I did it, but the flour on the outside keeps it from sticking to the skillet or the other pieces.  It was amazing!  I've fried a lot of things over the past 10 years and I've had a horrible time with sticking.  I do suspect the nonstick cast iron pans help too =)

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