“Fried Chicken” from “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”

Stress levels were high, due to Andrew’s upcoming A-levels, which all kick off in a few short weeks, so I did the one thing I knew would help: make all of Andrew’s favourite foods.

Thus, we found ourselves on a recent night having fried chicken (yum), cowboy rice (yum), tenderstem broccoli (yum), with all of it finished off with a flourish featuring Ruby Tandoh’s chocolate cake (triple yum).

We didn’t have proper fried chicken in our house growing up on the East Coast of the U.S., though I’m sure that’s down to the fact that we didn’t live in the South (where it’s a mainstay) and/or the fact that my dad is not a huge fan of fried chicken. When we did have it, my mom made it using crushed up potato chips and then baking it in the oven, which is fried chicken of a sort, but not proper fried chicken.

This method is proper fried chicken, where I even got to use my candy thermometer to gauge the temperature of the oil (I’m always happy to dig out one of my gadgets to justify its existence). Samin also advises you to either cut a whole chicken into eight pieces or bone about 12 chicken things. I didn’t get to the butcher in time to do either of those things (though Samin says you should do this yourself), so I looked in vain at the supermarket for boned thighs before concluding that you eat fried chicken on the bone in the U.S. so we’ll do the same thing here.

The recipe also gives you an option to make a spicy oil and brush the chicken with it once it’s fried. The adults at the table did this, and while it was interesting, it didn’t make it demonstrably better– mainly because the fried chicken on its own was out-of-this-world delicious.

We even had some leftover, so I was able to enjoy some cold fried chicken (which is a delicacy in and of itself) the next day for lunch. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Did my stress relief strategy for my teenager work? Did it ever. Do I think I’ll be making a lot more fried chicken (and other foods) between now and the end of June? Indeed yes. But making Andrew’s favourite foods is playing to my strengths, so I’m happy to keep doing it. Whatever works.

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“Fried Chicken” from “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”

“Buttermilk Fried Boneless Chicken” with “Garbage Salad” from “My Street Food Kitchen”

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Do you know how sometimes you make a dinner that is so resoundingly successful that everyone leaves the table full and happy?

This was one of those nights.

To be clear, dinner at our house is usually OK, but someone will always have a criticism of one thing or another. “It could have used more seasoning” or “It’s fine, but I don’t love it” or “I’m not really in the mood for [insert any type of food here]” or “I just didn’t fancy it” or “I’m not that hungry” or “It could have been presented better.” (The last comment seems to occur most often when we’re in the midst of a Masterchef season. Needless to say, I don’t take that comment all that well.)

But this ticked all the boxes. Delicious. Check. Relatively straight forward preparation. Check. Foods that we know and love. Check.

As an added bonus, it had a connection to Chicago, the city where we fell in love, earned our graduate degrees and started our life together. Needless to say, Chicago has a special place in my heart. “Garbage salad” is from there, and we used to eat it often [though they never called it this] at our favourite Italian restaurant when we were first married.

I’m not sure why it’s called Garbage Salad, but I do know that it uses loads of ingredients that we love that you don’t typically find in a traditional salad, including salami and provolone cheese. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not follow this recipe to the letter, because I knew from experience you can put any number of different things into a garbage salad. I didn’t use any of the things I knew we wouldn’t like: radicchio and radishes, I’m looking at you. I also couldn’t include some of the things she called for, like pepperoncini, which I couldn’t find anywhere.

But no matter, as it still was a Garbage Salad and it was still delicious.

The fried chicken also was a success. This required more than the usual planning to make, as you have to make a dry brine that the chicken needs to sit in overnight or for at least 12 hours. I managed, for once, to plan ahead and get it done. It was a step well worth doing, as the thighs themselves were full of flavour.

Like I said: Yum.

Will we have it again? What do you think?

A version of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken is on the BBC Good Food website. The only difference I could find is in the version I made you use boneless thighs, and on the BBC she uses any chicken parts. Click through that sentence to see the recipe yourself.

Alas, I could not find a copy of Jennifer Joyce’s Garbage Salad anywhere on the Internet, but this one is a pretty close copy. As I said above, I don’t think you have to strictly follow any recipe when you make Garbage Salad. The clue is in the name. (Though don’t add beans, like they do in this version. That is just plain wrong.)

 

“Buttermilk Fried Boneless Chicken” with “Garbage Salad” from “My Street Food Kitchen”