For the chicken: In a medium saucepot bring 4 cups water, 1/4 cup of the salt and the sugar to a boil. Then remove from the heat and stir until the salt and sugar fully dissolve. Cool the brining liquid to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator.
Add the buttermilk, thyme sprigs and zest to the chilled brining liquid.
Place the chicken in the brine for 4 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine, then place on a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Combine the garlic powder, paprika, the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the cayenne. Sprinkle each piece of chicken liberally with the seasoning mix.
Soak the chicken in a bowl of buttermilk for 1 hour.
Fill another bowl with flour, then dredge the chicken in the flour. Rest the chicken for 25 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat 1 inch of oil over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted into the oil reads 350 degrees F. Place the chicken in the oil and cook until cooked through, an internal thermometer will read 165 degrees F. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to absorb excess oil, and then lightly season with salt.
For the sauce: Add the tomatoes, onions, butter and olive oil to a medium saucepan, and slowly cook until the vegetables are cooked through. Deglaze the saucepan with the wine and cook until the wine almost completely evaporates. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, cook 10 minutes and then strain. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until pureed. Add Tabasco and salt to taste.
When blending hot liquid, first let it cool for five minutes or so, then transfer it to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters, and pulse until smooth.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.