This is by far, hands down, written in stone, the BEST fried chicken I have ever had. KFC is nothing but crunchy boogers compared to this. It’s a recipe from my Nigella Kitchen cookbook and I will never be making fried anything without this recipe ever again. I think the biggest difference, and the best part, is that the chicken is not dipped in egg to get the breadcrumbs to stick; instead it’s marinated in buttermilk and worcestershire sauce for 30 minutes. When you do this magic happens! The buttermilk gives it a bit of extra flavor and the breadcrumbs stick MUCH better than when using egg or butter.
- 4 chicken breast fillets, skinnless and boneless
- 1 C buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 C breadcrumbs (we used Italian-style, but Nigella recommends in her book to use stale bread, crumbled)
- 1 tsp celery salt (we used garlic salt)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
- frying oil (like vegetable or peanut)
- 1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
- Unroll a large piece of plastic wrap, then open out the chicken breasts and lay them on the plastic. Cover the fanned-out chicken breasts with another piece of plastic wrap, and bash with a rolling pin until they are thin, but still whole.
- Whisk the buttermilk with the Worcestershire sauce in a shallow bowl, or put it into a resealable bag and squish to mix. Then add the flattened chicken pieces to the bowl or bag (we used a bag – easier cleanup) and leave out for about 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (to keep the chicken warm after it’s fried). Mix the breadcrumbs, celery salt, cayenne, thyme, and Parmesan in a wide, shallow dish (my 8×8 glass baking dish was just the right size).
- Coat the chicken on both sides with the seasoned crumbs and then lay them on a wire rack (this is useful if you don’t have help; if you do have help one of you can fry while the other coats). See my note below on what to do with the leftover breadcrumbs and buttermilk mixture*
- Heat the oil in a frying pan – using just enough to cover the base with about 1/4 inch of oil.
- Once the oil is hot, fry the bigger pieces of chicken for about 3 minutes per side, and any smaller bits that fell off during the bashing fun can be fried for 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and blot with paper towels to remove excess oil. Put them in the warm oven until the last piece is cooked. To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional).
*When we did this we had a LOT of breadcrumbs left over, as well as the buttermilk mixture so we made hush puppies! I have never had these before and my husband described them as “fried bread-batter-stuff”—entirely unhealthy, but he assured me it would be tasty.
Add the remaining breadcrumb mixture to the ziplock bag with the buttermilk mixture and shake/squeeze it around until it’s all mixed very well. Form the mixture into 1-2 inch balls and put into the hot frying oil after the chicken pieces are done. Fry them for a couple minutes until they are crispy on the outside. Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Then eat!