Austin Leslie is known in New Orleans as the "Godfather of Fried Chicken." He died tragically in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but his legacy lives on through his signature dish, Fried Chicken with New Orleans Confetti.
Adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, it's easy to see why Austin's chicken is the gold standard of New Orleans chicken. Rubbed in salt, pepper, and a heavy dose of red-pepper-heavy Louisiana-style seasoning, the chicken sits and lets the flavors seep in for up to a day. Austin's recipe includes the unlikely addition of evaporated milk, which adds a bit of sweetness and an incredible crunch once fried. Less gloppy than buttermilk, this recipe will have you turning to the shelf-stable stuff when that fried chicken jones arises.
But a perfectly seasoned and mind-blowingly crunchy piece of chicken isn't all that makes this recipe so famous. After the chicken is fried it's showered in a confetti of finely chopped parsley and garlic and served with slices of dill pickle. The garlic and parsley (or persillade) is a nod to French influence in Louisiana and the slices of dill pickle? Well, let's just say that once you experience them with this fried chicken, there's no turning back, there's a good chance they'll become your go-to chicken garnish from here on out.
Adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook by John T. Edge and Sara Roahen. Copyright © 2010. Published by University of Georgia Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Louisiana-style seasoning blend
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 10 dill pickle slices
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
Wash the chicken in cool water and pat it dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and seasoning blend. Place the chicken in a single layer on a tray and refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
Pour oil into a deep skillet or Dutch oven to a depth of at least 3 inches. Heat the oil to 350oF.
Whisk together the egg, evaporated milk, and water in a bowl. Put the flour in a
shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken by dipping it in the egg mixture and then into the flour. Starting with the heaviest pieces and working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet, slip the chicken into the hot oil. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature of the oil as the chicken fries. Fry the chicken, turning with tongs, until the juices run clear when pierced to the bone with the tip of a sharp knife and the crust is deep golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes per batch. Drain the chicken on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then serve hot, garnished with the pickles and a confetti of the garlic and parsley.
Dutch oven or iron skillet