I know this sounds crazy, but this recipe, that I learned from my Grand calls for the cook to season and THEN bake the chicken at low heat in the oven BEFORE battering and deep-frying it until it’s crispy and extremely juicy. The biggest benefit of baking the chicken first means it can be fried for a shorter amount of time without drying it out.Is that cray-cray, or what !!! Another trick I learned from my Grand is that adding fresh celery and herbs seasons the oil while the chicken is frying. My Grand would also use cornflakes to get that extra crunchiness on the outside. In my version, I opted for panko breadcrumbs. I also used chicken thighs and some blood oranges for the citrus note, because that is what I had on hand. Serve this dish with coleslaw and cold, cold glass of sweet iced tea—Southern style.
Serve 4 to 6
2 Tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 1/2 Tablespoons dried thyme
One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces and patted dry
Kosher salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Creole seasoning , to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup cornstarch
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Japanese Panko bread crumbs , finely crushed
Fresh basil leaves
2 Stalks fresh celery broken into pieces
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 250°F. In a small bowl, whisk the 2 tablespoons of canola oil with the garlic cloves and 1/2 tablespoon each of the granulated garlic, parsley and thyme. Rub the mixture all over the chicken and under the skin. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest piece registers 150°F. Let cool slightly.
Spread the cornstarch in a pie plate. In another pie plate, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. In a large resealable plastic bag, mix the flour with the panko, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper,Creole seasoning,cayenne pepper, the remaining 1 tablespoon each of granulated garlic, dried parsley and thyme.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Working in batches, dredge the baked chicken in the cornstarch and shake off the excess, then dip in the egg and coat thoroughly with the panko flour. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 375°F. Add basil leaves and celery. Add half of the chicken and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 165°F, about 6 minutes for the breasts and 8 minutes for the drumsticks, thighs and wings. Transfer the fried chicken to paper towels to drain. Let the oil return to 375° F and fry the remaining chicken. Transfer all of the fried chicken to a platter and serve with lemon wedges and coleslaw.