Sometimes I need to remind myself of certain things. Put my house (and work) keys in my bag. Wear sunscreen, even if it’s not sunny. Reconsider that third cup of coffee. Make fried chicken more often.
While it might be categorized under #chefproblems, I feel as if I need to remind myself to COOK sometimes. When I get home from work, the last thing I usually want to do is pull out pots and pans and pick up a knife. Yes, I cook quite a bit at home, but not what you might expect. Huge grain salads, various pickled things and freezable soups make up the majority of my weekly home “cooking”. Nothing fancy, to me at least.
My roommate recently celebrated a birthday and I asked her to choose a meal, any meal, to celebrate. She chose fried chicken. This is why we make such great roommates. I have been working on my fried chicken game for the past year or so. I was set on making a classic buttermilk version until I stumbled upon the pickle brine. Boneless, skinless thighs, brined in a quick pickling solution, quickly dunked in buttermilk, flour and fried? SOLD. While I love a bone-in, skin-on fried chicken, the skin is awfully difficult to crisp beneath the coating and can take a solid 15 minutes in the fryer. I’m sure America’s Test Kitchen (or at least Thomas Keller) has perfected this, but I didn’t have the energy to play Alton Brown.
What’s so great about this version is the ratio of tender meat to crispy coating. Every bite is the best bite. A friendly reminder why it’s worth it to fry chicken in the first place.
Pickle Brined Fried Chicken
- 2 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
- 1 ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅔ cup kosher salt
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, preferably organic (about 3 lb.), halved if large
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
- Honey and hot sauce, for serving (see note)