Feature

Recipe of the week: Alabama’s best pan-fried chicken

The Shoals is the name given to a group of towns in northwestern Alabama, said John T. Edge in Food & Wine. Once a textile center, the Shoals now comprise “a community of homegrown artists, designers, and cultural provocateurs.” Many gather once a mo

The Shoals is the name given to a group of towns in northwestern Alabama, said John T. Edge in Food & Wine. Once a textile center, the Shoals now comprise “a community of homegrown artists, designers, and cultural provocateurs.” Many gather once a month for a potluck dinner. Though none is a professional cook, all the regulars have a Southerner’s deep familiarity with a cast-iron skillet. Angie Mosier, proprietor of the Blue-Eyed DaisyBakeshop in nearby Palmetto, Ga., created this “supercrispy” version of pan-fried chicken. The best way to eat these drumsticks, she says, is while “standing up.” This dish pairs well with a fruity Chardonnay, such as a 2005Morgan Highland from California.

Recipe of the weekSupercrispy Pan-Fried Chicken

16 pieces of chicken (preferably drumsticks and thighs)6 cups buttermilk3 cups all-purpose flour4 tsp salt2 tsp freshly ground black pepper1 tsp cayenne pepper1-1/2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

In a large bowl, toss chicken with buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrapand refrigerate chicken for at least 8 hours or overnight.

In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne.Set 2 large racks over rimmed baking sheets. Working in batches, drain chicken, scraping off most of the buttermilk against the side of the bowl. Add chicken to bag, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat completely. Remove chicken from the bag, pressing flour to help it adhere. Transfer chicken to racks.

Pour 1 inch of oil into each of 2 large cast-iron skillets and heat to 350 degrees. Add about half of the chicken pieces to the hot oil, being sure not to crowd skillet. Fry over moderate heat until chicken is golden, crisp, and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes; an instant-read thermometer should register 165 degrees for thighs or drumsticks and 160 degrees for breasts.Line racks with paper towels and drain chicken. Continue frying chicken inbatches, being sure oil temperature stays at 325 degrees during frying. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 12 to 16.

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