Chicken in a Box
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 1/2 cup Emeril's Original Essence or Creole seasoning, recipe follows
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
- 2 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) skin-on chickens, cut into 8 pieces each
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cayenne
- Peanut oil, for frying
Combine the buttermilk, 1/4 cup of the Essence, the salt, sugar, and garlic in a large non-reactive bowl. Stir to blend. Immerse the chicken in the mixture and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and for up to 24 hours.
Combine the flour, remaining 1/4 cup Essence, and the cayenne in a large doubled brown paper bag or heavy plastic freezer bag and shake to blend. Drop the chicken, a few pieces at a time, into the flour mixture and shake thoroughly to completely coat. Remove the chicken and shake off the excess flour. Repeat the coating process with the remaining chicken pieces. Place the coated chicken on a large wire rack set over a sheet pan and let rest until ready to fry, at least 20 minutes.
In a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat enough oil to come 4 inches up the sides to 300 degrees F over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in batches, skin side down, and fry undisturbed until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Turn and fry until golden brown on the second side, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels. (Note: An even oil temperature is the key to successfully frying chicken; a clip-on candy or deep-fry thermometer should be kept in the pot at all times. The temperature should remain between 280 degrees F and 300 degrees F during cooking.)
Allow the chicken to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
To serve, arrange the chicken on a platter, or place in a large waxed "take-out" box to transport.Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch
Published by William and Morrow, 1993.