Adventures in Fried Chicken: Recreating the Cover

Bon Appetit's Fried Chicken Sandwich

I’ve done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen over the years — making everything from foie gras torchons to my favorite dim sum treats. But one thing I have always stayed away from attempting is fried chicken. It just seems like one of those things best left to the professionals — Southern grandmas, fast food joints and Thomas Keller. Plus there are plenty of places in Portland that make it easy to just go out for fried chicken when the craving hits — I’m looking at you, Country Cat.

But when reading the April issue of Bon Appetit, I was seduced by the cover recipe: a mile-high, slightly sloppy fried chicken sandwich. Conveniently enough my friend DB and I had plan to cook together but didn’t have a menu in mind. I sent him the link to the recipe and he was sold.

We started out making the spicy sauce (Hellman brand mayo mixed with shaved garlic and hot sauce, easy enough) and the cole slaw. The slaw recipe made us hesitate for a second — pickle juice used as a dressing? But we went for it…and oh man, I am so glad we did (more on that later!).

The only hitch in our giddyup was that the jalapeño DB swears he bought went missing in between his trip to the store and his house. Luckily he had also picked up one of my favorite things, Mama Lil’s Spicy Pickled Peppers, and managed not to lose them in transit so we diced up a handful for some heat.

Taken as I realized we were jalapeño-less...

Taken as I realized we were jalapeño-less…

Pickle and Pickled Pepper Slaw

Pickle and Pickled Pepper Slaw — I loved the red of the peppers in there. And those suckers are spicy so I think it was the perfect sub!

Besides that substitution, everything was done according to the recipe — another big accomplishment for me, thank you very much! We cut, seasoned and breaded the chicken before frying it to a deep beautiful brown. As we removed pieces from the oil, we placed them on a rack in the oven to stay warm and crispy.

Chicken Breading StationChicken ready to be fried

This is where things got good!

This is where things got good!

So hungry!

So hungry!

Reading the comments section of the recipe online made me laugh. People were very concerned about what kind of bun to use for this delectable treat. I think it’s an easy choice. You have crunchy fried chicken and crunchy slaw dripping with pickle juice — get a nice squishy bun so you don’t lose the textures. These Pub Buns that DB picked out were perfect for the cause.

Pub Buns

Then put it all together and watch the magic happen!

Fried Chicken Sandwich

Fried Chicken Sandwich

I love seeing that bridge from this angle cause it means I'm cooking with one of my favorite people ever!

I love seeing that bridge from this angle cause it means I’m cooking with one of my favorite people ever!

So how was it? It was delicious, of course. It’d be hard to make this not taste good — it has all the elements of a perfect sandwich. However I will say that the shining star of this meal was not the chicken. The chicken was good, but the slaw was amazing. The pickled peppers added a nice vinegary touch, but even with a simple jalapeño I can imagine it would be amazing. In fact, if you don’t want to fiddle around frying the chicken, I would suggest just grilling or pan-searing it for an easier sandwich fix. Just keep the spicy mayo and for the love of all things holy — make the slaw to go with it!

It will make you happy.

If I had done the cover story -- it might have looked something like this...

If I had done the cover story, it might have looked something like this…

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18 thoughts on “Adventures in Fried Chicken: Recreating the Cover

  1. That spicy mayo and purple slaw look lovely. So does the St John’s bridge which is so fun to bike on a sunny day like today.

    Personally, I like to leave frying chicken to the pros so I don’t weigh 300 lbs to do my part to stimulate the local economy 😉

    • I know — it’s such a pretty bridge! I give me friend a hard time about living in St Johns since we live on the opposite ends of town, but I do really love his neighborhood. And trust me, I bike to work only so I can indulge in fried things, foie gras and beer! The battle between my taste buds and my vanity is a serious one. =)

  2. I love it!!! I love how I get these magazines and just a short while later there you are with a recreation of the recipes I was just drooling over! Fantastic job!

    • Thank you! I love it when other people review cooking magazine recipes too so I figure I have to contribute my part when I can. =) Seriously if you don’t feel like messing around with the frying part, this set up with a grilled chicken breast would be fantastic. I think I’m giving it a go this weekend — little bit healthier with all the flavor.

  3. Pingback: Last-Minute Grilled Eggplant | Attempts in Domesticity

    • Thank you! And seriously, yours was show stopper. When I sent my friend the link to the BA blog, we realized we both were drooling over your version. I love that you made your own pickles for it too — I was too lazy for that But we did seem to have a similar idea for future renditions — screw the frying and get the grill hot. Can’t wait for BBQ season!

      • Oh, thank you so much! Yes, definitely making this again with some good old grilled chicken! Much less messy 🙂

        And seriously, the pickles are SO easy if you ever want to try them. I almost didn’t, but I’m so glad I did. I think the first step (just slicing the cucumbers and putting them in saltwater) took like 4 minutes, and the second step (heating up the other pickling ingredients and adding the cucumbers to that mixture) took 6 minutes. So even though it’s 2 steps over 2 days, still only 10 minutes altogether!

  4. I’ve been putting that slaw on EVERYTHING!!! I put some last night on grilled garlic-pimentón Spanish pork shoulder sandwiches on telera bread. Mmmmm!!!

  5. We made the recipe for Father’s Day, and it did not disappoint! Delicious! Our jalapeno turned out not to actually be one (no kick), so that dud was the only hitch. We kicked up the slaw with some hot sauce too. Loved the mayo. The whole (yummy mess) was definitely more than the sum of its parts…and in spite of making a disaster mess of the kitchen, everyone was talking about this sandwich hours later. Thanks! The recipe goes to the top of the pile for near-future do-overs.

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