Fried chicken. Fish and chips. Onion rings. Steak fries and potato chips and corn chips. These traditionally fried foods can all be done in the oven.
One of my consistent failures in the kitchen for years was fried chicken. The outside burned but the inside didn’t get done. One of K’s favorite foods of all time is fried chicken – I mean, he would happily eat it every week – maybe every night. So I went on a quest.
The resulting recipe was a riff on my buttermilk-parmesan chicken breasts, which I’ve done for years in the oven. The larger thigh/leg sections above do quite well despite their size.
First marinate your chicken pieces in buttermilk with a little Worcestershire sauce mixed in, all day or even overnight. The enzymes in the buttermilk are wonderful tenderizers.
When you’re ready to cook, mix flour with salt and pepper to taste in a plastic bag. Add a pinch or two of cayenne if you want your chicken spicy. Drain the buttermilk off the chicken but don’t rinse or pat dry. Toss the chicken a few pieces at at time in the flour.
Remove and shake off excess flour. Then dredge the floured chicken pieces through beaten egg. (I use three large eggs for the pieces from one chicken in order to get good coverage.) Make sure to get it all over.
Then roll the egg coated chicken pieces in panko crumbs mixed 3:1 with powdered parmesan cheese. Add more cayenne to the panko/parmesan if you really like your chicken spicy.
Line a rectangular cake pan or jelly roll sheet with foil and put a half stick of butter on the foil. Place in a 350 F oven until the butter just melts. Remove the pan from the oven and add the chicken, rolling each piece in the butter to coat as much as possible. (If the idea of oven frying in butter makes you cringe, you can save a bunch of calories by spraying the breaded chicken pieces with olive or canola oil. Make sure to use enough, though, or it won’t brown properly.)
Bake chicken for 30 minutes at 350, then turn over. The bottom should be getting golden brown and crispy. Bake for another 30 minutes and check again. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature (in the thickest part of the breast or thigh) is 170 degrees. Cooking time will be longer for bone-in chicken. If the outside isn’t as crispy as you’d like, turn oven up to 450 for the last ten minutes or so. But keep a careful eye on it to avoid burning.
Sides are your call. ; )