First times are always momentous. Kisses, dances, jobs and funerals are all key to the human experience. Fried chicken, however, may trump them all. Now I am not talking KFC, but rather “gourmet, home-cooked, get your game on” fried chicken that you make because you have a hankering for creating art. Basically, I wanted to play in the kitchen and had never tried doing fried chicken before. The experience was revelatory; the chicken was so unlike anything else I had ever done that I am still confused by the outcome.
I decided to try out a recipe in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook that I picked up at a used book store last week. A recipe for me is: look at the recipe once, figure out the basic suggestions and then run like a young boy in the fields with it. My version went something like:
1 litre of buttermilk [shove the fresh cut chicken in there and the fridge for 4 hours], 1 cup of flour, 3 tsp of baking powered a few standard spices, a litre of corn oil and away we go.
Simple. Primal. Unheard of in your common Canadian kitchen. My only regrets are that I did not figure out my perfect seasoning combination [needed more salt or something like that] and I might want to change how I cut up the pieces for frying. I went with a standard cut, but the core body was too big [you cannot fry a whole breast]. This feels like a recipe that I will spend the year perfecting, because I would love to share it with family and friends for years to come. Yes, you use a whole litre of oil and of buttermilk, but the use is worthwhile. Now I just need a picnic basket, my forthcoming Base Camp X axe, and I am off to Grandma’s house.