6 March 2008

Oven Fried Chicken to Rival the Colonel

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. Best Blogger Tips


  1. That chicken I am sure will "out-do" anything the FKC guy can whip up! And with the mustard in the coating, what a perfect pair with the potato salad! Looks like spring to me!
    And OBTW Valli, it is Thursday. I know you are trying to get to the weekend quicker, but you have one more day:)
    Your "Spud Bud"!

  2. Hey Deb...I don't know why it says Friday when March 6th is clearly Thursday...oh well...just one of those glitches:D ...and yes I want it to be Friday already!!!!!!!!! Your Spud Bud Val

  3. Nice dish Val!
    I'm going to try chicken breast Tuscany tomorrow, will let you know how it turned out.

  4. The only way to recreate fried chickem at home is by frying in shortening...that'll shorten your life.

    Otherwise, frying just doesn't do it so...baking is the way to go...great plating Val.

  5. This has GOT to be 100% better Val than the rival KFC and it looks it too!! I'll take mine with your salad and pass on KFC fries :D

    Rosie x

  6. I completely trust ATK recipes. Interesting that they used melba toast for their crumbs. I try to stay away from the deep fried stuff too!! This looks great :)

  7. When I lived on my own it was fried chicken once a week....I haven't had it for so long!!!! I really must make some soon again.

  8. What a gorgeous meal!

    I am a comfort food junkie, so I have been trying to get it all in before the warmer weather comes.

  9. And I just realized that your post says Friday because the year is listed as 2009...Just in case you wanted to know!:)

  10. I love oven fried chicken! I usually use crushed corn flakes for that old-school charm, but panko is a classy update for it. Wow, I really should make some soon. It's been a looooong time.

  11. For the longest time I never knew about soaking chicken in buttermilk. It really does make a difference. This looks so good.

  12. That looks great! Yeah, it does feel like were caught between seasons.

  13. You're a life saver - took some chicken out - couldn't think of what to do and you just solved my dilema - how excited do you think I am - guilt free KFC that won't make me sick to my stomach like KFC does. :)

  14. That a good way of making chicken. I prefer those methods than deep-frying my food. There is so many ways to enjoy chicken in the winter.

  15. Funnily enough, I was hunting around for a recipe for just this thing this weekend, but everything else I saw made you haul out the deep fat fryer. Hooray for the alternative. :)

  16. Val, I'll take this "tweenie" meal any time! I need to try the buttermilk idea, sounds great!

  17. I love your title, it made me laugh! I would eat this over the Colonel's any day!

  18. That baked chicken looks really good! I like that you can bake a lot of things that are normally fried. I will have to try it to see how it works.

  19. Hope the chicken Tuscany turns out well Neema!
    Americas Test Kitchen has some tried and true recipes Recipe Girl.
    Thanks for the heads up Deborah...I am really pushing it with 2009!!

  20. I'm totally with you on the in-betweenness. I'll be making summery foods one day and hearty, winter braises the next. I can't make up my mind...

    The not-fried fried chicken looks great to me! I'd love to have the deep fried taste, but I could never justify (1) using so much oil at once or (2) having that much hot oil near me and (3) venturing into cooking something so unhealthy...since that just opens a pandora's box of unhealthiness.

  21. Hi Val,
    Yeah, chicken is back ;-) Marinating it in a brine mixture made of buttermilk sounds great! I can't wait to try this. I also don't like deep-frying, so I can see that this can become a regular in our home.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Val.


  22. This looks great. I've put it on my must try list.

  23. Just tried the recipe for the 1st time, and was looking forward to it. Followed the recipe to a T, with one alteration: I had a package of 6 big-ass boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I used in place of a whole cut-up chicken.

    The verdict: WAAAAYY SALTY!!! We wound up feeding the leftovers to the dogs.

    That said, we'll give it another try with HALF (maybe even a third!) of the salt, and perhaps double the paprika. The salt notwithstanding, the flavor was terrific - and even though the breasts revealed not even a hint of pink, they were phenomenally moist & juicy.


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