Crispy Chicken Sandwich

This is a riff on the fried chicken sandwich we do at The Cecil in Harlem—it's something I like to make on my day off. I always love a fried egg on top and a whole bottle of beer in the batter. It's nice and crispy, with that crunch you want in a chicken sandwich.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

6 cups grapeseed oil (fill the pan ¾ full)

12 ounces beer

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup flour

1 cup Grits

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

4 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Pepper, for seasoning

1/2 cup tahini

2 Ice cubes, plus ice water as needed

1 cup ricotta cheese

4 large eggs

1 Brioche loaf

1/2 cup Pea sprouts (or lettuce of your choice)

1 tomato, sliced

Directions

  1. Make the beer batter and fry the chicken: Pour oil 1/4 full into a deep pan and set over medium heat. Secure a deep-fry thermometer to the pan’s side and heat oil to 320-330 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, whisk the beer, buttermilk, flour, and grits until smooth. Continue whisking in the onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper; then dip one at a time, into the beer batter. In two batches to avoid overcrowding, fry chicken until exterior is golden brown, interior is just cooked through 5-6 minutes per side. Make sure the oil temperature is maintained at 320-330 F through the cooking process.
  2. Make the tahini sauce and finish the chicken: In a bowl, add the tahini with the ice cubes and stir around to melt the ice and incorporate into the tahini. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. (This will give the tahini a silky-smooth texture). Add the ricotta and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. When the chicken is golden brown, crispy and cooked through, remove it to a rack fitted over a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
  3. Fry the egg and assemble the dish: In a medium skillet, add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil, then the eggs. Season the yolks with salt. Slowly cook on low/medium heat until the white is just cooked with no color. Slice the bread into 4, 1-inch slices and spread some of the tahini cheese mixture onto each slice. On two of the slices build the sandwich with pea sprouts, sliced tomato and a piece of chicken (optionally cut in half). Place the sunny-up egg on top of the chicken, finish with more pepper and serve.
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