Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Taco-Fried Chicken

The writer Calvin Trillin, a longtime patron of the original Shopsin's on Bedford Street in New York City, once took Kenny Shopsin to the bar in Buffalo, New York, where Buffalo wings were invented. The sauce there was a straightforward mix of equal parts Frank's Hot Sauce and melted butter. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Today, Kenny's son Zack, who is a cook at Shopsin's, regularly prepares Taco-Fried Chicken, which is paired with the same fiery sauce. The dish is a great example of Kenny's whimsical cooking style—inspired by a particular ingredient or product, he will use it in creative, somewhat ridiculous ways. Says Kenny of Mexican food, "The kind of Mexican food I like is ... based on a foolproof combination of melted cheese, spicy peppers, and greasy red meat."

While this dish is made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and there is no melted cheese involved, it certainly falls under the categories of greasy and spicy. The chicken breasts are coated in a mixture of eggs, cream, and crushed tortilla chips, and then deep-fried. Before serving, Spicy Buffalo Wing Sauce is "dumped" over them. It's like fusion, with a pinch of humor and a dash of the absurd.

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