Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Easy, Less-Fat Fried Chicken

Mom made the best fried chicken in eastern Kentucky, despite what you’ve heard about that big-chain chicken place from the same state. She would cut up a couple birds, leave the skin on, and settle the pieces into two big skillets filled about halfway with bubbling vegetable oil. The only seasonings were salt and pepper. It was crispy, juicy, tender, and delicious. And stayed with you. A long time.

I still love fried chicken, but the heaviness from lots of oil and fatty skin—not so much. In this recipe, I use chicken thighs (because dark meat is juicier to begin with), remove the skin, and fry all eight pieces in only one-quarter cup of olive oil. This method doesn’t produce a crispy first bite, since there’s no skin to crunch into, but the outside does get that golden brown color, flavor, and texture, and the inside is juicy and tender without tasting greasy and heavy.

Simple preparation and seasoning still rule: a dusting of flour and salt and pepper. That’s it. 

But there is one key: Don’t remove the skillet cover. Allow the chicken to cook covered and undisturbed for five minutes on one side, then turn and cook covered and undisturbed for five minutes on the other side. Those first 10 minutes are crucial to golden brown on the outside and juicy tenderness inside. 

I served the chicken with simple steamed potatoes. Quarter a few small, yellow-skinned spuds, steam them about 20 minutes (or until tender), season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a little melted, unsalted butter. It’s downhome goodness without the guilt.

Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 2 1/2 lbs)
  1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  2. While the oil heats, place the flour in a large, zip-top bag and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, seal, and shake well to coat.
  3. When the oil is hot, shake the excess flour off the chicken pieces and place them in the skillet. Cover and cook 5 minutes.
  4. Turn the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cover the skillet again. Cook another 5 minutes.  
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook another 7-8 minutes per side (depending on size), turning 2 to 3 times, until golden brown on both sides and tender inside.
  6. Remove the chicken to a large plate, season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and let rest 3 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Fried Chicken after 1 Turn
Fried Chicken after 2 Turns
Fried Chicken with Steamed, Buttered Potatoes

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