One of my favorite dishes on this earth is Buffalo chicken wings, that bizarre but irresistible combination of deep fried chicken wings tossed in hot sauce with a side of blue cheese dipping sauce and celery sticks. I'm also crazy about veal Milanese -- veal dipped in egg and Parmesan bread crumbs and then sauteed -- especially when it's topped with a green salad.
This recipe combines the ingredients of the first recipe with the concept of the second. Triscuits make a unique crust and by soaking the chicken in buttermilk first you ensure that the meat remains moist. (A tip of the toque to my Southern viewers, by the way, who taught me this trick when I first starting frying chicken on the show.) I threw the celery and the blue cheese into the slaw along with the hot sauce.
This slaw would also go great with any grilled meat or chicken in the summer. But be sure to toss it at the last minute because it gets watery if it sits around. If you are worried about calories, use low-fat mayonnaise and low-fat sour cream. The substitution won't affect the flavor much.
Whisk the buttermilk and half of the hot sauce in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the slaw. Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and blue cheese in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Season with the remaining half of the hot sauce and salt and pepper. You should have about 1 cup dressing. Just before cooking the chicken, toss the cabbage, carrots and celery with about 3/4 cup of the dressing. Reserve the remaining 1/4 cup dressing for serving.
Put the cracker crumbs in a shallow bowl or plate. Lift the fingers 1 at a time and drain off the excess liquid. Dip into the crumbs and turn to coat on all sides.
Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add half the chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.
For your picnic, package the reserved dressing, slaw, and chicken.
Recipe courtesy of Sara Moulton, Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, Broadway Books, 2002