Fried Chicken in Only One Tbsp Olive Oil: An Easy Favorite Meal

GeniusChicker BestLast year, the cookbook Genius Recipes (2016 Best Compilation Cookbook Award Winner) was put out by the culinary wizards at Food52. If you don’t know the Food52 website, you should. It was founded in 2009, and has received the James Beard Award for Best Food Publication (2012) and Best Culinary Website (2013 IACP Award). This collection of 100 “Genius Recipes” is what editor Kristin Miglore determined were the best, most essential recipes that have been passed down through the years by favorite cookbook authors, legendary chefs, and now, bloggers who made them even more famous. It is a book that is certainly worth purchasing.

The brilliance of the fried chicken recipe they selected is the beautiful amber crust achieved by cooking uniformly-sized flat thigh pieces, and the absence of any form of breading. Using only one tablespoon of olive oil eliminates the need to toss out a big batch of high heat oil after frying, while cutting down on the nasty splatter mess. In fact, I have measured the residual oil in the pan after 8 thighs were cooked, and 5 tablespoons of oil remained in the pan. Net loss of 4 tablespoons of fat…. amazing!

The fried chicken technique below is from the method provided by Canal House (Genius Recipe, p.108), although we have modified the recipe to add a crumble of Maldon salt flakes, cayenne, and lemon zest to give the chicken some zip.

And should you wind up with 2 leftover pieces, try our tasty fried chicken bars with toasted quinoa. A perfect meaty on-the-go snack.

Fried Chicken: Cooking Time (about 40-45 minutes)
Active Time, about 5 minutes.

Remove chicken thighs from packaging and blot skin dry. Warm a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, or another favorite thick-bottomed skillet (other than stainless steel),  on medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil–spreading over the entire bottom of the pan. Pat the skin side of the chicken dry with a paper towel.
Once oil is warm, carefully set chicken in the skillet, skin side down, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. DO NOT MOVE THE CHICKEN ONCE IT IS IN THE PAN OR THE SKIN WILL TEAR. After about 10 minutes you may need a splatter shield to keep your stove clean (not a lid). Keep resisting the urge to move the chicken as it will interfere with browning or tear the skin.
GeniusChicken_crumblesWhile chicken is browning and cooking, zest the lemon and add the desired amount of cayenne (or chili powder if cayenne is not for you) and a generous heaping of Maldon salt flakes. The flakes work much better with this technique to form a crumb that is easy to apply. Otherwise, just use a bit less of a coarse salt.
GeniusChick_inlodgepanOnce the chicken is cooked on the skin side (about 30 minutes; 25 minutes if your chicken pieces were small) turn off heat for one minute then flip the chicken. That way you are unlikely to get splattered and you can be more careful so as not to tear the skin. Sometimes I use tongs and sometimes a narrow metal spatula. When the chicken is right side up, turn heat back to medium and sprinkle on the crumble of lemon, cayenne and salt flakes and cover again with splatter guard, if needed, during this last 15 minutes of cooking. Squeeze juice of one half of the lemon over the chicken pieces upon completion, and reserve other half for serving with the chicken at the table.
Try a different variation on the flavor profile if you tire of this one–sometimes my son brushes it with gluten-free Sensei Sauce (tamari ginger and sake), or our Enchilada Sauce.

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