Friday, April 09, 2010

All of the Crunch, None of the Grease All Over Your Kitchen

Some days, you just aren't up for creating a big old mess in the kitchen. But you want fried chicken. What, my friends, is a cook to do in this situation?

And therein lies just some of the genius of Oven-Fried Chicken. Meat that's moist and juicy inside; crispy and crunchy outside. A quick cooking time. Minimal ingredients. And no need to break out the splatter screen!

Breaded, fried chicken cutlets are a standard dinner around here; I probably make them once a month. But this recipe introduced me to a few new techniques that will definitely change the way I make the dish. First, you use skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead of breast meat. It's much juicier and more flavorful. The recipe suggests lightly pounding the thighs, which I did by covering the thighs in plastic wrap on a cutting board and then whacking them with the bottom of a saucepan. This gives you more surface area, and more opportunity for crunch. Second, the chicken cooks in a very hot (450-degree) oven, instead of in a sputtering frying pan on your stove. No mess, and a slightly lowered risk of getting your hand or arm burned with oil. Third (and this may seem obvious but it's worth pointing out), the recipe has you season the flour with celery salt, garlic salt and cayenne pepper (I skipped the garlic salt but definitely recommend the cayenne), and use panko instead of plain old bread crumbs.

I love this recipe. Hope you do, too.--S

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