Tanya Holland, owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B Side Barbecue in Oakland, Calif., serves unforgettable crunchy andflavourful fried chicken as well as rich, smoky barbecue. She trained at the prestigious La Varenne cooking school and worked in top restaurants around the U.S., but when she opened her own placed, she turned to her roots for Southern-inspired dishes. Her spectacular take on fried chicken is traditional, spicy and crisp. Holland serves this in true Southern fashion with waffles, but I prefer buttermilk mashed potatoes and crisp green beans.
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1.5-kilogram (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped parsley
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil for frying
Mix tarragon, paprika, onion powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, thyme and cayenne together in a small bowl. Place chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle with spice mixture and parsley, tossing to coat. Pour buttermilk over chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove chicken from marinade. In a large bowl, combine flour, remaining 1 tablespoon salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon black pepper. Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour.
Pour oil into a large pot to a depth of 3 inches and heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer reads 350 F. Add as many chicken pieces as possible without crowding the pan. Cook chicken pieces, turning occasionally and adjusting heat to keep oil between 340-350 F, until deep golden and cooked through. Smaller pieces will take 5 to 7 minutes and larger pieces will take 12 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken to a rack and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.
By all means stick with sauvignon blanc, its citrusy tang is able to offset the oil. But there are slightly better options. Sparkling wine works nicely because of the palate-cleansing bubbles as well as the acidity, though I grant most people would find “celebratory” sparkling wine and fried chicken strange table fellows. Riesling and gewürztraminer go beautifully with the herbs and spices in the batter. ForIf you prefer red, try go crisp, such as Beaujolais or barbera. Beppi Crosariol