When a recipe calls for frying in oil - and using a thermometer - I usually turn the page. Same with caramelizing sugar. But I have a note on my spice cupboard that says "Do one thing you're afraid of every day" and so in spite of my fear of frying I made the Fried Chicken from the current issue of Bon Appetit - you know, the recipe that's on the cover? Go buy a copy. Now.
It's Valentine's Day and fried chicken is Wally's favorite. If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know I made the Ad Hoc fried chicken for his birthday (a long time ago) and it took three of us all afternoon - after two days of prep.
So this one is simpler, and more bullet-proof. How? Well, I forgot to rub the spices on last night, so I did it this morning. Didn't seem to matter. Plenty spicy.
I also forgot to photograph almost everything until I was halfway done. In fairness it's hard to fry and photograph at the same time.
This recipe is less messy, only one dip in the buttermilk and one in the flour. I used tongs to dip and flour the chicken instead of my hands - it worked fine.
And I used a rack to drain the chicken after it was cooked. Skin side up so the oil can get out.
And even tho I read the recipe several times I screwed up the temperature - I fried the first batch at 350. You're supposed to put the chicken in to the oil at 350 and fry at 325. There was a big warning about the coating burning while the chicken stayed raw. Didn't happen.
And the verdict? We liked the 350 chicken better. It was crispier - the 325 was juicier and you could taste the spices better, so I'll probably fry at 325 next time...but oh that crispy crust.
And of course I forgot to photograph the finished chicken until it was almost gone.
I will make this again, and soon. For a picnic, for a summer party in the garden. For a dinner by the fire when it's raining. For a birthday, for a friend. I have not lost my fear of frying but some things are worth being scared.