Reading the many wonderful stories in Fried & True, it would be easy to assume Lee Brian Schrager had made fried chicken his life’s work. In fact, we wonder how he’s had time to mastermind food and wine events in Miami Beach and New York, as well as keep abreast (see what we did there?) of his gazillion other food-centric activities and businesses–all while ferreting out an incredible number of drool-worthy fried chicken recipes from across the country (and the history behind them).
Not all of the more than 50 entries are what one might consider traditional fried chicken–there are French and Asian flavors as well as recipes from the American South, and even a vegan option. As a Miami ex-pat, I was particularly gratified to find recipes from two Little Havana eateries–one Vietnamese, one Cuban. My ship has come in.
We chose to share Chef Mark Romano’s fried chicken recipe because of both its relative ease of preparation as well as its über crisp exterior. Fans at Boston’s Highland Kitchen can’t get enough, and now neither can we. Lee writes that the “super-crunchy coating” gets “coaxed into crispness in part by the addition of Maseca–a finely milled variation on masa harina found at Mexican markets.”
Plan ahead for the two-day brining process, and this Fried & True recipe will make your holiday weekend (or any) meal as good as it gets.
Fried & True
More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides
by Lee Brian Schrager with Adeena Sussman
Photographs by Evan Sung
- ½ cup kosher salt
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces
- 4 cups buttermilk
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups cornstarch
- 1 cup Maseca (instant Mexican corn flour) or masa harina
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon celery salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- BRINE THE CHICKEN: In a large bowl, whisk the salt with 8 cups cold water. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. Drain and discard the brine, pour the buttermilk over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
- MAKE THE DREDGE: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, Maseca, salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, celery salt, and pepper.
- FRY THE CHICKEN: Fill a large pot halfway with oil and heat to 350°F. Set a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk (don’t rinse it!) and dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Working in batches, fry the chicken until the internal temperature of the white pieces reaches 160°F, and the dark pieces reach 165°F, on a deep-fry thermometer (13 to 14 minutes for breasts and 16 to 17 minutes for thighs). Rest the chicken on a rack briefly before serving with your favorite biscuits.