Fried chicken is a comfort food. And comfort is not something you'll find at the bottom of a grease-soaked, lamp-heated box from your local fast-food bird chain. It's something you'll find in your home.
Making fried chicken is much easier than you think, and you don’t even have to corral 11 herbs and spices to make it delicious. Just take it from Elisabeth Prueitt, co-founder of San Francisco’s famed Tartine Bakery, who just released her new cookbook Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook. The culinary tome — which is shaping up to be one of the best cookbooks of the year thanks to seriously accessible home-friendly meals — is rife with foundational recipes, fried chicken included.
While Pruiett is best-known for her James Beard Award-winning pastries, don’t for a second think she can’t whip up some sizzling poultry on the fly. The secret? There isn't none. Just one surprise: chickpea flour. “It’s crispy and light,” writes Pruiett, “with a delicious savory flavor that takes well to the herbs and strong seasonings used in fried chicken coatings.”
So, start there.
Another important step is giving the chicken an overnight treatment in buttermilk. Pruiett notes to do so even if you only have an hour. Not only does it serve as a brine bath for the poultry, it also helps the chicken hold onto the seasoned coating mix. While she keeps her seasoning mix to the bare minimum, there’s no reason why you can’t experiment and throw your own herbs to the mix.
4 bone-in chicken breasts
4 bone-in chicken thighs
2 bone-in chicken drumsticks
1 qt (960ml) buttermilk or kefir
1 Tbsp sea salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 cups (240g) chickpea flour
1 cup (180g) potato starch
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Combine the chicken, buttermilk or kefir, and salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to fry, remove the chicken from the fridge and let rest in the buttermilk at room temperature.
Pour at least 1 1/2 inches/4cm of vegetable oil into a heavy-bottomed pot or tall-sided pan and heat to 360°F/182°C. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Meanwhile, mix together the chickpea flour, potato starch, salt, and pepper. The chickpea mixture can be put in a paper or plastic bag or in a shallow bowl.
When the oil is ready, lift a piece of chicken out of the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off, and dredge the chicken in the chickpea mixture. Carefully place in the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the piece and the temperature of the chicken. Working in batches, fry as many pieces of chicken as will fit in a single, uncrowded layer at a time. Using tongs, transfer the fried chicken to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Let cool slightly before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook by Elisabeth Prueitt, copyright © 2017. Published by Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.” Photography credit: Paige Green © 2017