(taken from Tender at the Bone, but haphazardly re-imagined while imbibing and shooing small children away from hot oil)
Claritha's Fried Chicken
The day before
- Rinse 2-3 packages of chicken wings (know where your chicken is coming from) in cold water. Toss with copious amounts of kosher salt in a bowl (2-3 handfuls). Let sit 2 hours. Rinse in cold water a few times.
- Slice two onions very thinly. Dump wings into one or two large ziploc bags. Cover with buttermilk. Sprinkle in slice onions. Toss/massage ziplocs to combine ingredients. Refridgerate overnight.
An hour before guests arrive
- Combine 1 cup flour + good hanful of salt + dash of cayenne + several grounds of black pepper in a new ziploc bag.
- Drain chicken from buttermilk/onion mixture. Add a few pieces at a time to seasoned flour bag and toss thoroughly to coat. Important step: Place floured chicken pieces on wax or parchment paper to dry. Let sit 30 minutes to dry out.
15 minutes before guests arrive
- While chicken is drying out, melt 1 cup vegetable shortening (that's Crisco to us Southerners) and 1/2 stick of butter over medium-low heat in heavy pan (cast iron is best). [Here's where it might pay to either do some frying research to see what temp is recommended - or just prepare to adjust as you go based on how fast the chicken is cooking.]
- Test one wing in the oil to see if it's the right temp. When you're convinced the oil is at the perfect temperature, tenderly place just enough wings in the hot oil so you're efficient but not overcrowding the pan.
- Turn and cook until the desired browness and internal temperature. Remove from oil and either drain on paper towel-lined plate or a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt.
As far as serving - I like to save half the chicken for a purist's enjoyment of good ole fried chicken. Since it was Superbowl, I tossed half the fried chicken in the traditional Frank's Red Hot Original. Both versions are taken to another level when drizzled with clover honey.