Fried chicken is an essential part of my husband’s annual birthday feast. This may be the best version I’ve ever made. Not only was the meat incredibly tender from the lemony and garlicky brine, the seasoning in the crispy coating was super delicious as well. Fabulous.
The recipe was first published in Food and Wine in 2007 and then updated and re-published as a staff-favorite recipe in 2022. It was contributed by Thomas Keller who serves it every other Monday at his restaurant Ad Hoc in Napa Valley. The recipe was adapted from his book Ad Hoc at Home.
I adapted the recipe by modifying the method and proportions, and by substituting boneless, skinless chicken thighs for bone-in chicken pieces. I brined the chicken the day that I fried it. I also used a countertop electric skillet to more easily maintain an even cooking temperature- absolutely life changing. (Thank you to my Mother-in-Law for giving it to me!)
I made 15 chicken thighs- enough to have leftovers for days. That’s how we like to extend birthday celebrations in my house. 🙂 I included instructions on how to successfully re-heat the chicken below.
10 to 15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
For the Seasoned Flour & To Finish the Dish:
3 cups (about 12.75 oz) all-purpose flour
2 T garlic powder
2 T onion powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 cups whole buttermilk
about 2 quarts canola or peanut oil, for frying
fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish
fine sea salt or ground fleur de sel, for garnish
To Brine the Chicken:
In a large bowl, combine the water and salt; stir until dissolved.
Pour the salt water into a 2 gallon zip-top bag inside a large pot. (I used a stainless pasta pot.) Add the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and lemon halves; stir to combine.
Add the trimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs, being sure they’re completely submerged; seal the bag. Refrigerate for 10 to 12 hours. (Do not refrigerate for longer than 12 hours or the chicken may become too salty.)
Remove chicken thighs from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the meat. Discard the brine.
Let the chicken stand until it comes to room temperature, about 30 to 45 minutes.
To Coat and Cook the Chicken:
Fill a 12-inch electric skillet with about 2 quarts of oil; heat to 320-325 degrees. (Alternatively, fill a large pot with oil to a depth of 2 inches; heat over medium to medium-high to 320 degrees.)
Set a wire rack over a foil and paper towel-lined, rimmed, baking sheet. Reserve for cooked chicken.
Line a second rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Reserve for raw chicken.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Divide the mixture between two glass pie dishes (about 1 1/2 cups each).
Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Working with one chicken thigh at a time, dip the chicken in the first bowl of flour; turn to coat and pat off excess. Dip into buttermilk, letting excess drip back into the bowl. Dip into the second dish of the flour mixture.
Transfer the coated chicken to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining pieces. (I continued to do this while simultaneously starting to cook some of the chicken thighs.)
Carefully lower the chicken thighs into the hot oil, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a temperature of 320 degrees. (I cooked 3 thighs at a time.)
Cook for 2 minutes, and the carefully turn over using tongs, continuing to cook and turn as needed for even browning. (I had 1 set of tongs for transferring the raw chicken and 1 set of tongs to turn the chicken while cooking.)
The chicken is cooked when it is a deep golden brown, very crisp, and an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion reads 165 degrees, about 9 minutes total.
Transfer the cooked chicken to the prepared wire rack set over the lined baking sheet. Let it rest while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Sprinkle with fine sea salt to taste, if desired.
Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs or chopped herbs. (Alternatively, the rosemary and thyme can be cooked in the hot oil for a few seconds before being used as a garnish.)
Serve hot or at room temperature.
The original recipe recommends cooking chicken breasts and wings at 340 degrees, if using instead of thighs or drumsticks.
If using bone-in skin-on chicken (the best meat-to-crust ratio is achieved using 2 1/2 to 3 pound whole chickens), let the pieces rest skin-side up. Modify the cooking time as needed to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees (about 12 minutes for thighs and drumsticks, 7 minutes for breasts, and 6 minutes for wings).
To reheat leftover fried chicken do not be tempted to use a microwave! Reheat uncovered, placed on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
This is an amazing vegetarian version of one of my favorite dishes. It was absolutely packed with flavor. I served it with Turkish bulgur and vegetable pilaf on the side- perfect.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the method and proportions. I roasted one large red onion but would consider using two next time.
We ate the filling served on warm mini naan. As it was completely overstuffed, we had to use utensils to eat it. The filling could also be stuffed in a pita or served on a larger flatbread.
Yield: 4 servings
For the Filling:
1/2 cup (8 T) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, plus more as needed
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 large heads cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds each), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
1 or 2 large red onions, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
For the Tahini Sauce:
2 T fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste (I used Meyer lemon juice)
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or 2 tsp harissa paste or other hot sauce, plus more to taste
2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt or fine sea salt
2/3 cup tahini
2/3 cup ice water, plus more as needed
warm naan, pita, or other flatbread
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley, or more to taste
chopped tomato, cucumber and olives (I omitted the olives)
bulgur and vegetable pilaf, optional
Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
Prepare the cauliflower: In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne. Add cauliflower and onion, and toss until well coated.
Divide the mixture and spread in a single layer on the prepared sheet pans.
Roast vegetables until they are golden brown, slightly crisp and tender, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, and rotating the pans halfway through the roasting time. If the vegetables look dry as they roast, drizzle with a little more olive oil. (I roasted the vegetables for 35 minutes on convection.)
As the vegetables cook, prepare the tahini sauce: Whisk together lemon juice, Aleppo pepper or harissa, garlic and salt in a small bowl, and let sit for a minute or two to mellow the garlic.
Whisk in tahini.
Whisk in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. You may not need all of the water or you may need to add a little more: Tahini brands vary a lot.
Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more Aleppo pepper or harissa, lemon juice and salt if you like. The sauce should taste zippy and creamy.
Warm the flatbread by placing them directly on the bottom oven rack during the last 5 minutes as the vegetables roast. (Or you can warm the bread on another baking pan.)
Scatter parsley on top of the roasted vegetables and serve with warm naan or pita, tahini sauce, chopped tomato, cucumber and olives, as desired.
This beautiful breakfast pastry uses store-bought puff pastry as a shortcut. I loved the crushed dried blueberries sprinkled over the top.
I served this pastry as part of our Easter brunch along with my favorite brunch dish, Asparagus, Leek and Gruyere Quiche. We also had fruit and green salads, cheeses with crackers and warm bread, hummus with vegetables, nuts, and sliced kielbasa.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Anna Theoktisto. I modified the method and proportions. The combination of blueberries and lemon was bright and delicious.
The pastry is ideally served warm, but I made it a day in advance, refrigerated it overnight, and served it at room temperature. Still great. It could also be reheated prior to serving.
Yield: Two 5×12-inch Pastries (about 8 to 10 servings)
1 (18.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used Trader Joe’s)
all-purpose flour, for dusting
5.2 ounces cream cheese (such as Philadelphia), at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
5 to 6 T blueberry preserves (I used Stonewall Kitchen)
scant 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
1 T water
2 T whole milk
2 T whole freeze-dried blueberries, crushed
Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon zest and juice with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed, gradually increasing mixer speed to medium-high, until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Measure 1/3 cup cream cheese mixture into a separate medium bowl; set aside for icing.
Unroll thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. (I used a pastry mat instead.) Cut pastry in half lengthwise; place 1 pastry half on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with second roll of pastry on second baking sheet.
Divide remaining cream cheese mixture in half. Spoon one ration of the mixture in a 1 1/2-inch-wide strip lengthwise down the middle of each pastry half on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a 1-inch border along short pastry edges.
Stir together preserves and cornstarch in a small bowl. Divide the mixture into fourths.
Spoon each ration of the preserves mixture evenly along the long edges of both cream cheese strips (about 1 1/2 tablespoons per side), leaving a 1-inch border on each long side.
Beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush border of topped pastry lightly with egg mixture; reserve remaining egg mixture.
Place remaining pastry half on top of filled pastry, pressing edges firmly to seal.
Chill until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. (I set my oven to true convection.)
Brush chilled pastry lightly with reserved egg mixture. Using a paring knife, cut 5 small (about 1-inch) slits on top of pastry.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and evenly puffed, 40 minutes on convection or up to 45 minutes in a standard oven, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.
Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; let pastry cool 10 minutes.
Place freeze-dried blueberries in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin.
Whisk milk into reserved 1/3 cup cream cheese mixture until smooth.
Drizzle icing over warm pastries, and sprinkle with crushed freeze-dried blueberries. Serve warm. (see Note)
Note: I waited for the pastries to cool to room temperature prior to drizzling with the icing. Once garnished, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight. Pastry can be reheated or served at room temperature. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Oh my… this silky side can be prepared dangerously easily. We loved it too.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Julia Langbein. I modified the proportions. Although it was fabulously creamy, I would incorporate less crème fraîche next time.
The original recipe notes that heavy cream and fresh lemon juice could be substituted for the crème fraîche for a similar flavor profile. I personally loved the tanginess from the crème fraîche.
Yield: about 6 servings
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound (16 oz) spinach (mature or baby spinach)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg, optional
1/2 to 3/4 cup crème fraîche (I used 3/4 cup but would start with 1/2 cup next time)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium. (I used a stainless steel sauté pan.)
Cook the garlic cloves, stirring occasionally, until golden around edges and very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high and add spinach, by the handful, stirring and letting it wilt slightly after each addition. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Add freshly grated nutmeg, to taste, if desired.
Cook spinach, stirring often, until mostly wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Add 1/2 cup crème fraîche; stir until spinach is saucy and coated. Add more, as desired.
Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
This is a quick and delicious- lemony and garlicky- one-pan dish. I now realize that I prefer pan-seared gnocchi over boiled. It was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Great.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet, modified the method, and doubled the garlic. It was a perfect meal served with a big green salad. We didn’t have any leftovers!
Yield: Serves 3 to 4
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
1 pound gnocchi (fresh, frozen or shelf-stable) (I used Trader Joe’s shelf-stable)
2 T unsalted butter
4 to 8 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
1/2 cup cup dry white wine, clam juice, or stock (I used chicken stock)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
1 pound large or extra-large shrimp, shelled (I used tail-on 21-25 count)
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
In a large, preferably nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Add gnocchi to the pan, breaking up any that are stuck together. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes, tossing every 1 to 2 minutes, so they get golden and crispy all over. Transfer to a bowl or plate. (I reduced the heat to medium half-way through this step.)
In the same skillet over medium-high, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and all of the butter, letting it melt for a few seconds.
Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add wine/stock/clam juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and all of the red-pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, and let the liquid reduce by half, about 2 minutes.
Add shrimp and sauté until they just start to turn pink, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on their size.
Return gnocchi to the pan and add another 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a Microplane or other fine grater, quickly grate the zest from the lemon into the pan.
Add chopped parsley, tossing well. If your pan looks dry, add a splash of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing to combine, then remove pan from the heat. (I didn’t have to add any additional liquid.)
Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze in the juice from one half, gently tossing to combine. Taste and add more salt if you like. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges for serving.
Drizzle with more olive oil and more red-pepper flakes, if desired, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.
I loved everything about this beautiful salad. We ate it with Turkish Grilled Chicken– such a wonderful meal. It was one of the best zucchini dishes I’ve ever made.
This recipe was adapted from Milk Street, contributed by Elizabeth Mindreau. It was re-created from a salad served at Coal Office, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant in London.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
about 3/4 to 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 T tahini
zest from 1 large lemon, plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp plus 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small shallot, halved and thinly sliced
2 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp za’atar
2 small/medium zucchini (12 to 16 ounces total), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
ground sumac, to serve, optional
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, stir together the chickpeas, shallot, vinegar and za’atar. Cover and microwave until the shallot is wilted, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (see Tip)
When the chickpeas have cooled, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the zucchini, mint, dill and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the chickpea-zucchini mixture to a platter, spooning it around the edge.
Scoop the yogurt mixture into a mound in the center of the chickpea-zucchini mixture.
Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with sumac, if using.
Tip: Don’t forget to cover the bowl containing the chickpeas and shallots when microwaving. Covering traps steam that helps wilt the shallots and soften the chickpeas. And remember to occasionally stir the chickpea-shallot mixture as it cools. This helps ensure the chickpeas evenly absorb the seasonings pooled at the bottom of the bowl while also hastening the cooling.
This is another flavor-packed adaptation of a classic. It was a wonderful way to enjoy the bounty of delicious summer cucumbers. Although this version is lighter than a classic Caesar, I was initially concerned that the dressing may be too potent. No worries! It was perfect.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Zaynab Issa. I modified the method and proportions, used cucumbers from my CSA share, and used harissa instead of Calabrian chile paste. I loved the generous volume of fresh dill.
We enjoyed it with grilled chicken thighs and and roasted potatoes. Great.
For the Crispy-Spicy Panko Topping:
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Harissa or Calabrian chile paste (or 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
1 cup panko
1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal)
For the Salad & Assembly:
4 to 6 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T anchovy paste or 5 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets, smashed
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt, plus more (or 3/4 tsp Diamond Crystal)
5 peeled, halved, and seeded cucumbers or 3 European hothouse cucumbers, cut on a diagonal into 1″ pieces
2 oz Parmesan, shaved (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1 cup dill, chopped
To Make the Crispy-Spicy Panko Topping:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Add the chile paste and stir into the warm oil.
Add panko and salt (and crushed red pepper flakes, if using instead of chile paste) and cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Transfer spicy breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl; set aside.
Do ahead: Breadcrumbs can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
To Make the Salad & To Assemble:
Whisk garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies, mustard, and salt in a large bowl to combine.
If using regular cucumbers: peel, slice in half, and seed them. (I used a melon baller to seed them.)
Add the cucumber slices; toss well to coat.
Add shaved Parmesan and top with dill. Gently toss to distribute evenly.
Taste and season with more salt, if needed.
Just before serving, transfer cucumber salad to a platter and spoon reserved spicy breadcrumbs on top. (I reserved some of the breadcrumbs to pass at the table.)
Do ahead: Dressing can be made 3 days ahead; cover and chill. Salad (without breadcrumbs) can be made 3 hours ahead; cover and chill.