6 March 2008
We are in between seasons where we don't know what we should be making. I cling to my BBQ one minute with hope for the lazy, hazy days of summer and the next moment I am craving the comfort foods of mid winter. It stands to reason that todays menu is an "inbetween," a "tweenie," "betwixt" the two seasons with no real foot in either winter or summer. I guess that would make it perfect fare for Spring.
If you have read my other posts you know of my unfounded fear of deep frying, plus I can always benefit from foods that are more heart healthy. This oven baked "fried" chicken is something I often prepare all year round...even in the summer baked in the BBQ. It marinates in a brine mixture made of buttermilk which makes this chicken so tender and delicious I salivate on my plate. To make it a "betwixt" meal I served it up with spicy coleslaw (recipe coming) and a potato salad from my "Spud Bud" Deb over at Deb's Key West Wine & Garden . I still had some of the trio-coloured potatoes left over from the past meal so decided to prepare this summery dish. This potato salad would be perfect for picnics because it has no mayonnaise. Check out her awesome potato salad recipe here .
This baked chicken recipe originally came from America's Test Kitchen. They used melba toast for the crumb coating but I deviated from the recipe just a little by using plain breadcrumbs. Move on over Colonel Sanders!!!!
**Oven Fried Chicken**
1-1/4 cups kosher salt or ½ cup plus 2 T table salt
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
3 medium heads garlic, cloves separated
3 bay leaves, crumbled
7 cups low-fat buttermilk
4 whole chickens, legs separated into drumsticks and thighs and skin removed
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 box (about 5 oz) plain melba toast , crushed or Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1 tablesppons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional
To make melba toast crumbs, place the toasts in a heavy-duty plastic bag, seal, and pound
with a meat mallet, or other heavy blunt object. Leave some crumbs in the mixture the size of
pebbles, but most should resemble course sand.
For the chicken: In large zipper-lock plastic bag, combine, salt, sugar, paprika, garlic cloves and bay leaves. With rubber mallet or flat meat mallet, smash garlic into salt and spice mixture thoroughly. Pour mixture into plastic container or nonreactive stockpot. Add buttermilk and stir until salt is completely dissolved. Immerse chicken and refrigerate until fully seasoned, 2 to 3 hours. Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and shake off excess; place in single layer on a large wire rack set over baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for 2 hours. (After 2 hours, chicken can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 6 hours longer).
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line sheet pan with foil and set large flat wire rack over sheet pan.
For the coating: Drizzle oil over Melba toast crumbs in shallow dish or pie plate, toss well to coat. Mix eggs, mustard, thyme, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and optional cayenne with a fork in a second shallow dish or pie plate.
Working one piece at a time, coat chicken on both sides with egg mixture. Set chicken in melba crumbs, sprinkle crumbs over chicken, and press to coat. Turn chicken over and repeat on other side. Gently shake off excess and place on rack. Bake until chicken is deep nutty brown and juices run clear, about 35 -40 minutes.