Who doesn’t love fried chicken? When my kids were young of course all they wanted were “Nuggets” from fast food chains and I would have none of that. I would make my own fried chicken but it never quite turned out the way I wanted. The chicken was either too dry or not cooked all the way through. I never could get the chicken cooked all the way through before the breading would start to turn and burn. When I would slice open a piece there staring back at me were the tell tale signs that the chicken wasn’t cooked, pink insides by the bone and light colored blood oozing out! (yuck) I also didn’t like the way the chicken felt so greasy when I went to pick it up with my hands. All I kept thinking of was all the oil I was swallowing, it just felt so unhealthy.
I had to come up with an alternative way to do this. I thought that by using boneless and skinless chicken breasts that I could lessen the time in the oil and reduce the calories. I experimented with numerous ways to end up with moist, juicy and crispy fried chicken by trying different brine’s & marinades and failed until I accidentally left the breasts marinading too long in buttermilk! Using buttermilk with Tabasco, (this is not spicy) as marinade is nothing new but I forgot that it was in the refrigerator marinading and I left it for two days! I thought about tossing it but the chicken still had two more days left before the expiration date. (I ALWAYS look at the expiration dates on everything I buy.) I decided to give it a go. It was exactly what I was looking for, fried chicken that was tender, juicy, moist on the inside and crispy crunchy on the outside. The acid in the buttermilk broke down the protein in the chicken rendering it tender and helped to keep it moist. The Tabasco gave it just the right amount of kick without being spicy. Frying it on a medium low flame helped to cook it through with out burning the bread coating.
I love to serve the breast sliced and over fresh herbs and garden greens with an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice, it’s just the right finishing touch!
3 organic chicken breasts
5 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons Tabasco
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups Panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1-12/ teaspoons garlic salt
1-1/2 teaspoons onion salt
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups rice flour, (most markets carry rice flour)
2 egg, , beaten
3 cups canola or vegetable oil
Lemon slices, for garnish
Slice the chicken breasts in half, cut off the tenderloins from the back of the breasts, and place the breasts, including the tenderloins, in a bowl.
To make the marinade, combine the buttermilk, Tabasco and cayenne pepper. Mix well, then pour over the chicken to coat. Pour the chicken along with the marinade into a large plastic bag and seal. (I use two plastic bags in case of leaks.) Lay the bag flat in the refrigerator for 24 hours or up to two days, (no longer than two days.) Make sure to turn it at least once to redistribute the buttermilk.
Prepare the panko bread crumb mixture. In a large plastic bag, combine the panko, garlic salt, onion salt, kosher salt, and pepper. Close the bag and shake well.
Remove chicken from marinade and let the excess marinade drip off, then place chicken in a bowl. Discard marinade.
Coat the chicken in the rice flour, dip it in the beaten eggs, and coat it with the panko mixture. Place on a cooling rack and let air dry for about 30 minutes. This is an important step, you want to dry out the panko bread crumbs, it will help to fry up the coating nice and crispy!
When ready to fry, heat the canola oil in a cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. To test to see if the oil is ready, take a pinch of coating off the chicken and drop it in the oil. If it starts to bubble briskly, it’s ready for the chicken. Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side, up to 8 minutes, or until the panko coating has turned a beautiful golden color. If the panko starts to brown too fast, reduce the heat to low.
Drain on a paper towel. Place the chicken on a rack and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing to retain all the natural juices!
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