Nicole A. Taylor presents Southern recipes for all in The Up South Cookbook (Countryman Press, 2015). Combining all the home-cooked goodness of traditional Southern food with the international flavors of her Brooklyn neighbors, Taylor’s recipes honor tradition while reinterpreting the classics. The following recipe for Southern fried chicken is from “Yard Birds and Fish.”
My favorite saying to rattle off to my longtime friend Reginald Dye is, “You ain’t no spring chicken.” Reggie loves my fried chicken wings, and any hole-in-the-wall or white tablecloth with flavorful fowl. I live and die by seasoning the bird and batter. Fry up the entire chicken or just your favorite pieces.
• 1 (3 – 4 pound) fryer chicken, cut up
• 1/2 lemon
• 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
• 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1-1/2 cups coconut milk, unsweetened, or 1 (13-1/2-ounce) container
• 1/2 cup buttermilk
• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 4 cups peanut oil or lard
• Fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1. Rinse the chicken and rub it with half a lemon (I do this to sanitize chicken). Pat dry, season with 2 tablespoons of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper, and cinnamon. Place the chicken in a large bowl, cover it, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine the coconut milk, buttermilk, and chicken. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
3. In a shallow dish combine flour, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder. Dredge the chicken in the dry mix.
4. Add oil to a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on high heat. Let the oil reach 350 degrees F, using an instant-read thermometer.
5. Work in batches. Temperature should hover around 350 degrees F.
6. Cook wings for about 15 minutes (turn at each 5-minute mark).
7. Breast, thighs, and legs cook in about 25 minutes (turn at each 5-minute mark).
8. Chicken should look like it’s almost floating.
9. Transfer to jelly roll pan with cooling rack on top. This keeps the skin crispy. For easy cleaning, line with pieces of brown paper bags or paper towels.
10. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
More from The Up South Cookbook:
Reprinted with permission from The Up South Cookbook by Nicole A. Taylor and published by Countryman Press, 2015.