In the past, I've mainly used the series of Is My Blog Burning? events to prepare Italian classics, taking the chance to share those recipes that I love but don't prepare all that often. So, when Linda announce the theme of this 18th edition would be frying I was pretty much set to follow the known path and knock up one of the many fried recipes of the Neapolitan tradition. And I would have, if I hadn't started being obsessed by Southern-style fried chicken.
It all started a couple of month's ago with the fried chicken cook-off on the eGullet Society's forums. For one reason or another I didn't join in, but the idea stuck in my mind. A few weeks ago, reading a short detective story I stumbled upon a character obsessed by the fried chicken his grandma used to make. At that point I had started getting pretty fixated on fried chicken myself. Although I did have a few fried chickens in while living in the States in the '80s I had never cooked one myself. So what better than having THE perfect excuse for knocking up a batch of fried chicken? Sing with me (and Madonna):
Like a virgin, frying for the very first time,
like a vi-i-i-rgin, put your chicken next to mine
Note: the recipe below is based on a number of very similar recipes I've found on the net and on books (yes, even Martha), and gives -for a beginner like me- a nice fried chicken with a crisp thick crust. Still, since I'm a real amateur chicken frier feel free to add your comments/corrections/suggestions. They'll be most welcome.
Southern-style fried chicken
1 medium chicken, about 1.5 kg cut into 10 pieces (2 ea. tighs, drumsticks and wings, 4 breast pieces; reserve the rest of the carcass for stock)
500 ml buttermilk
Self-raising flour, about 400 g
pepper, salt, paprika, thyme
oil for frying (or half oil, half bacon fat)
Add about 2 Tbs salt and some tabasco to taste (I used about a Tsp) to the buttermilk and marinate the chicken in it for about 4 hours. Use a container where the chicken snugly fits in one layer so that the buttermilk will just cover the meat.
In a large bowl season the self rising flour with salt, pepper, paprika and thyme (respectively 2 Tsp, 1/2 Tsp, 1 Tsp and 1/2 Tsp).
Half fill a pan wide enough to hold all the chicken pieces in one layer with oil. Or even better heat two pans, one for the breasts and another for the remaining pieces. Heat the oil to 165° and shallow fry the chickens for about 25 minutes. The breast will probably need less so check before the time is up and eventually remove it beforehand. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.