POULTRY
Chinese Style Fried Chicken Grilled Chicken Breast
Fried Chicken with Skin Lemon Garlic Chicken
Fried Chicken without Skin Polllo Di Tonnato

FRIED CHICKEN

Southerners think they have a patent on its success. The Germans say they invented it. The French know they do it with more finesse and snob appeal. The British haven’t the foggiest notion how to do it and so don’t consider it civilized. And, as usual, the Italians have a different twist that makes it deliciously Italian. The common denominator is that fried chicken is a Sunday family favorite in any language.

And, now, a word about safety precautions: You could remain lucky all your life, and, then again, you might not. With this in mind: 1. Keep chicken refrigerated until ready to cook. 2. Wash chicken well, removing blood in the backbone. 3. Discard flour in which raw chicken has been dredged. 4. Most important of all, when you have finished preparing the raw chicken, wash the board or surface well with detergent. Do not use the sponge you use for your dishes to do this. Then, make a solution of one part Clorox® to 8 parts water in a small plastic bottle. Shake it and pour a little on the cutting board to clean the surface. Then, wash it again with water. Keep this little bottle under the sink.

Cooking oil can be reused many times up to six months when guidelines are followed. 1. Cool oil to room temperature and strain into a bottle. Store in a cool, dark place, preferably the refrigerator. 2. Keep the oil temperature below 375?F when frying. If the oil begins to smoke, it is an indication it is breaking down and, if it continues, could diminish the taste of the food. Cooling oil that has smoked can turn rancid and should be discarded. Most oils break down around 400?F. The best oils are those with high flash points. Peanut and cottonseed are best for outdoor cooking. Grapeseed oil has a smoke point of 485?F and is the ultimate oil for everything from cooking to salads, but it is costly.

And, a word about Technique: Drop chicken pieces with one hand into a plastic or paper bag of seasoned flour. Remove it with the same hand and drop into beaten egg or milk without touching the liquid. Turn chicken over in the liquid with the other hand. Do not put wet hand into flour or floured hand into liquid. This takes practice. It’s like rubbing your head in a circle with one hand and patting your tummy with the other at the same time. It’s the only foolproof method to keep the flour and your fingers from sticking together.

Do not overcrowd the pan. The chicken pieces should not touch each other. If the chicken browns too quickly, turn the heat down. Cooking time can vary from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. When a knife inserted into the thickest part of the thigh shows no sign of blood and the juices run clear, the chicken is done. Underdone chicken is not only tough, it’s dangerous.

Because of America’s health obsession with fat, the very mention of lard, bacon grease, butter and solid shortenings sends nutritionists into apoplexy. But, no self-respecting southerner would fry without a “nip” of one of them added to cholesterol-free vegetable oil! It just isn’t the same without it. We’ll keep this “our” secret!

Before printing recipes for fried chicken, it’s important to make one thing clear: Disregard the servings indicated. One chicken might feed four frugal, skinny adults, but doesn’t pull a wishbone for a family with bottomless, hollow-legged teenage boys or hungry men. Just the aroma of homemade fried chicken brings them to the kitchen in anticipation. They’re not about to settle for anything like a quarter of a chicken.

ITALIAN FRIED CHICKEN: A DIFFERENT TECHNIQUE
Yield: Approximately 4 Servings

This is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to prepare fried chicken. Instead of dipping the chicken first in eggs, milk or butter and then into flour, they do the reverse. The result is a beautiful golden color with crunch on the outside and mouth-watering moist meat within. Families in Florence serve fried chicken with other fried vegetables, such as zucchini and potatoes. They also include other fried meats, such as sweetbreads, sausage and baby lamb chops that have been lightly seasoned and dipped in coarse breadcrumbs.

3 ½ pound chicken
Salt and pepper
Flour for dredging - Optional: A pinch of Cayenne pepper
2 extra large or 3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and season well with salt and pepper.
2. Dip first into the flour, covering the pieces well. Shake off excess.
3. Beat the eggs with the salt and dip in the floured chicken pieces to coat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
4. Cover the bottom of a skillet or electric fry pan with no more than one-half inch of vegetable oil. When the oil sizzles when a tiny drop of water is added place the chicken in skin side down. Fry over medium-high heat (375?F) to brown uncovered. Turn over. Lower heat to medium (350?). Cover the pan and cook until done, 15-20 minutes, covered. Remove cover to allow skin to crisp. Drain on a rack.

BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN

3-3 ½ pound chicken
Salt and pepper
2 cups buttermilk (whole is best, but 1% will work)
1 ½ - 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper or white pepper
Vegetable oil to cover bottom of heavy deep skillet with the addition, if you dare, of 2 tablespoons bacon grease or lard or butter

1. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Soak chicken pieces in buttermilk at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
3. Combine flour, salt, pepper and Cayenne in a plastic or paper bag. Drop pieces, one at a time, into the mixture, shaking the bag until coated.
4. Pour just enough vegetable oil to cover skillet to a depth of no more than one-half inch. Heat oil to approximately 350?. Add chicken pieces, but not so many that they touch each other. There must be a bit of space between each piece. Reduce heat slightly. Cover the skillet to brown on one side. (About 10 minutes) Remove cover. Turn chicken pieces and brown on the other side until cooked through, or approximately another 10 minutes. Drain on a rack set over paper toweling.

FRIED CHICKEN WITHOUT SKIN
Yield: 16 pieces

2 fryers, 3-4 pounds each, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and black pepper
3 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk, beaten together
4 pieces white bread, toasted and pounded into crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Canola or peanut oil

1. Remove skin and fat from the chickens. Dry well on paper toweling. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Combine the eggs and beat with a fork. Coat the chicken pieces heavily with the beaten eggs.
3. Combine toasted bread crumbs, Parmesan and garlic powder in a paper or plastic bag.
4. Submerge the chicken pieces into the bag one at a time. Shake to coat evenly.
5. Remove chicken from the bag, shaking off excess flour.
6. Pour enough Canola* or peanut oil to cover one-half inch from the bottom of the skillet. Bring to the bubbling point and place the pieces of chicken in, leaving a little room between them. Lower heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until brown on one side. Turn chicken over. Cover the pan and cook until very tender and brown. Remove the cover the last 10 minutes to crisp the chicken. Turn the chicken over for a few minutes to crisp the other side. Set the chicken on paper toweling to remove excess oil.
* Canola Oil: The canola plant grows primarily in Western Canada. Compared to other oils in today's market, it has the lowest level of saturated fat (7 percent). Although it was derived from rapeseed in the early 1970's, it has a different chemical composition. I use it because, unlike some oils used for frying, Canola has no odor or flavor.

And, this is my fool-proof fried chicken for the family:

BUTTER BATTERED CHICKEN

3 – 3 ½ pound fryer
Salt, pepper
4 tablespoons butter or butter substitute, melted
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour touched with a pinch of Poultry Seasoning (Spice Islands® or McCormick®)
Vegetable oil no deeper than one-half inch in a large, heavy skillet or, preferably, electric frying pan

1. Cut chicken into 8 or 9 pieces, being careful to keep the skin intact. Wash the pieces well, removing excess fat from under the skin. Dry on paper toweling. Turn skin side down and salt and pepper pieces to your liking. Turn chicken over to salt and pepper skin side.
2. Melt butter. Dip chicken in to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour.
3. Pour flour into a paper or plastic bag and ‘touch’ it with poultry seasoning. Shake.
4. Remove chicken from refrigerator and shake the pieces, one at a time with the flour. Set on paper toweling and leave 15 minutes.
5. Heat oil to 375?. Return chicken to bag with flour and shake pieces again to coat. Shake off excess. Set chicken skin side down and brown. Lower heat to 325?. Turn chicken over. Cover the pan with the vent open (or slightly tilted for steam to escape) and cook 20 minutes, or until done. Remove cover. Turn chicken skin side down again. Raise heat to 350? and cook until crisp, or approximately 5 minutes.

CHINESE STYLE FRIED CHICKEN
Yield: 4 Servings

FOR THE SAUCE:
¼ cup white corn syrup
2 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce
½ cup cool water
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
Optional: 2 tablespoons rice wine or light sherry

1. Combine ingredients in a saucepan, stirring until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and keep warm, stirring occasionally.

FOR THE CHICKEN:
Shitake or enoki or straw mushrooms
2 whole chicken breasts, boned, skinned, and sliced lengthwise into strips
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1”pieces
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 1” pieces
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Scallion greens, minced

1. If you have dried Shitake mushrooms, wash and soak them in hot water for an hour, or until soft. Remove stems and slice mushroom caps. If you have enoki or canned or fresh straw mushrooms, wash well and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a skillet. Add chicken and cook on both sides over medium heat. Stir in tomatoes and yellow pepper. Stir in mushrooms. Add sauce and continue to cook, stirring, over medium heat for about one minute. Serve over cooked white rice and sprinkle scallion greens over all and around the edge of the plate for decoration.

OVEN FRIED CHICKEN PARMESAN
Yield: 2-4 Servings

NOTE: Oven fried chicken can become dry. Cut into quarters instead of smaller pieces.
3 – 3 ½ pound broiler-fryer, cut up
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup butter or butter substitute, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350?F.
2. Dip chicken quarters in egg-milk mixture. Mix Parmesan with flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in the mixture. Set into a baking pan and pour butter over.
3. Bake 1 ¼ hours.

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Food Protection Manager Certification Examination Exp. 9/14/2015