For me, as a kid growing up in New York, fried chicken came from one place, and one place only: those grease-stained cardboard buckets peddled by the Colonel himself. But times have changed, and as is often the case, revisiting those fond childhood memories results only in disappointment and disillusionment. That said, stylistically, it can't be faulted. So I figured that I could somehow manage to take what the Colonel started and bring it to its ultimate conclusion—that is, deep chicken flavor; a flab-free skin; juicy, tender meat; and crisp, spicy coating—I might just be able to recapture those first fleeting childhood tastes of fried chicken as I remembered them. Here's the result of my efforts.
'fried' on Serious Eats
Japanese-style fried chicken flavored with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce is the perfect snack for eating with sake or beer.
Deep fried bacon-wrapped hot dogs topped with a quick salsa made with avocado, tomato, onions, and pickled jalapeños, along with mayonnaise and potato chips.
Quick fried short crust pies stuffed with sliced bananas and Nutella.
A vegan game-day snack made with ultra-crisp battered cauliflower tossed in garlicky buffalo sauce.
Ultra-crisp fried cauliflower Korean-style, served with a sweet and hot chili sauce or a sweet soy glaze.
My favorite way to cook potatoes: boiled, smashed, then shallow-fried until golden brown and crisp. They get unbelievably crispy with a great creamy center.
A quick flash in hot oil not only renders a crispy shell around the organ meat, but the livers are cooked just enough to yield a tender, slightly pink, creamy interior. Dipped in hot sauce, these crunchy and earthy livers are like a more flavorful and exciting version of chicken nuggets.
Calamari is like an upmarket version of fish sticks. It's both comforting and slightly elevated. A lot of people get nervous about frying, or about seafood in general, but fried seafood is one of the easiest things you can make. Here, strips and tentacles are coated in a Chinese five-spice powder and flour dusting, and fried in two minutes until golden and crisp. Tossed with scallions, cilantro, and lime, these calamari are exotic, quick, fresh, and totally hit the spot.
[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt] This pizza may sound heavy, but it comes out light, crisp, and airy. Easily one of the best, tastiest ways to cook pizza at home without a wood-burning oven. Note: Use high quality fresh mozzarella or...
[Photographs: Elizabeth Barbone] This gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free recipe makes a crispy gluten-free fish fry. If you can't find gluten-free beer, use seltzer water. If you can't find sweet rice flour, use an additional 1/4 cup white rice flour to replace...
Fried pickles with spicy remoulade are easy, if a bit messy, to make. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera] Note: Not all pickles are created equal. Generally speaking, the ones that sit on the shelf aren't up to the task, given they lack...
Note: This technique will work with any fried chicken....
This recipe elevates an already great saag by adding alu kofta, little deep-fried balls of mashed potatoes tinged yellow with turmeric and spiced with chiles, ginger, and garlic. Crisp on the outside and creamy within, these potato balls have the same just-can't-stop-eating-'em goodness as another deep-fried potato-y treat: Tater Tots. Indian-inspired Tater Tots over Indian-accented creamed spinach? Yes, please.
A regular porchetta is delicious, no doubt, but I thought to myself, what if I start with the same all-belly porchetta and take it to the extreme? This was undoubtedly the mind-blowingest of all the mind-blowing meat dishes that have come out of kitchen in perhaps... ever? Bold statement, I know, but I honestly can't think of anything I've ever made that I was happier with then this porchetta.
Usually when I find myself frying up pieces of squid it's for some kind of Mediterranean dish. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) But this stunning sandwich from Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft instead looks to New Orleans and Mexico for inspiration. The po' boy is drizzled with black chile oil and layered with avocado slices before being topped with handfuls of crispy squid.
Who knew a funnel cake could make a person nervous? It's not that I have a frying phobia, but I wondered how drizzling gluten-free batter into hot oil would work. Without gluten holding things together, would the cakes fry up into the classic lacy funnel cake shape? Or would I end up with solid disks of fried batter? Turns out, they work really well gluten-free. They key is to get the batter right.
Coconut shrimp. Even if they're fried, the fact that they're coated in fruit means they're healthy, right? Mixed here with panko, the coconut toasts as it fries, and becomes part of the tooth-cracking crunch on the outside of these giant, juicy shrimp.
I am not sure what came over me, but I was sold on this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's At Home with Madhur Jaffrey the moment I read "spicy green undercoat." What was it? I had no idea! I just imagined this lovely piece of fish sitting on some fierce chili sauce—it sounded perfect.