Get the Recipe
Most would agree, the best part of fried chicken is the skin. Evil-genius chef Sean Brock decided to skip the middleman—er, chicken—and go right for the good stuff. He serves these deep-fried strips of chicken skin as a bar snack at Husk, and was benevolent enough to share the recipe for them in his new cookbook, Heritage. After scraping the fat off the skin, he bakes it in buttermilk until tender, then dredges the strips in seasoned flour and fries them into crispy little bites that get splashed with hot sauce, drizzled with honey, and sprinkled with lemon thyme. Be forewarned, these can disappear quite suddenly, leaving you with greasy lips and a guilty look on your face.
Why I picked this recipe: Do you really have to ask?
What worked: These are delicious little nuggets, for sure. The braise in buttermilk turns the skin succulent and tangy, giving it character that stands up to the flavorful flour mixture and the frying. I liked them best when the hot sauce and honey were liberally applied.
What didn't: For this recipe, Brock instructs to use his Husk Hot Sauce, which I'm certain is amazing but takes 2 months to ferment; I used my favorite store-bought brand, and was perfectly happy. (I also used regular thyme, because I couldn't find lemon thyme.) As to his method, the directions read to scrape the fat off of the skin, which is a rather delicate process, after it's already cut into 1/4-inch strips. This totally mangled the fragile strips, not to mention being utterly tedious.
Suggested tweaks: Scrape the skin clean with a knife before cutting it into strips (which I found was easier to do with shears). Also, I actually liked the strips left a bit larger, even up to 1-inch wide, since I thought they stayed more distinct within their crispy coating. It took me only around 3 minutes to reach a golden-brown state in the fryer as opposed to the 5 minutes Brock cites, so pay close attention. And just to note: 1 pound of chicken skin yielded about 1 cup of cleaned strips.
Thanks to our friends at Artisan, we have 5 copies of Heritage to give away this week.