Editor's note: Each Saturday afternoon we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.
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Typically used to thicken gravies and sauces without clumps, Wondra—fine, "instant" flour"—yields an ultra-crunchy, beautifully browned batter for fried chicken, one much sturdier than all purpose flour. If you can't find it, mixing all-purpose flour with 2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch is an okay substitute. While a single-fried bird does just fine, cooking one nearly through before popping it back into oil lends spectacularly crunchy results, whether eaten on the spot or packed for a picnic, later.
Giving the chicken a nice, long buttermilk bath—one infused with Old Bay seasoning, hit of Tabasco and hefty glug of Worcestershire—results in juicy, flavorful meat with the slightest hint of tang.
Achieving a proper fry isn't hard, but the how-to does matter. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least half an hour before cooking begins. When removing the poultry pieces from the marinade, shake off the excess liquid. As long as it's not overly damp, the first dredge in flour won't wind up goopy. And the second pass? It ensures a crackly exterior, one that'll get people clucking.
Finally, take time to cook the chicken in sequential, paired batches the first time around. Start with the thighs, adding the drumsticks shortly thereafter. In pairs, the breasts and, then, wings follow. During the final fry, everything can be finished at once.
I like to pair my bird with wisps of jalapeno and seedless lemon slices, dredged in the same crisp batter. This tart-hot combo offsets the juicy meat perfectly.
Note: Using a deep-fryer makes temperature management easy, but a large Dutch oven, outfitted with a thermometer, works just fine. Just be sure to keep the temperature at a steady 325°F.