2 free-range chickens, cut into serving pieces
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
3 cups buttermilk (full fat, if possible), plus more as needed
Arborio Rice Coating, recipe follows
Peanut oil, for frying
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup semolina flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons table salt (see Chef's Note)
20 turns or 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
Wash the chickens and place in a large bowl. (Make sure to wash your hands after you handle raw poultry.) Mix the balsamic and the rosemary and pour over the chickens. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the chicken and discard the balsamic. In a clean bowl, toss the chicken with the buttermilk. Remove the chicken pieces, reserving the buttermilk.
Pour Arborio Rice Coating into a large plastic bag or container. Add the chicken in batches, shaking to coat. Put chicken back in buttermilk, adding more buttermilk if necessary to coat all the pieces. Dip the chicken pieces in the rice mixture to dredge them, then carefully dip them in the buttermilk again, and then dip a second time in the rice mixture. Pat well to remove excess flour. Refrigerate coated chicken for at least 1 hour to allow coating to adhere to flesh of the chicken.
Heat about 2 inches of peanut oil in a heavy skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat to 335 degrees F. Slip some of the chicken pieces skin side down into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd; fry in batches (or 2 separate skillets) if necessary. Cook until chicken is cooked through and golden brown, about 10 to15 minutes per side. Drain thoroughly on a wire rack or crumpled paper towels and serve. Can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature.
Put the rice in a blender and grind until very fine. Shake out into a large bowl and add the semolina, flour, salt, and pepper. Toss until well blended. Store in a sealed container in the freezer to maintain maximum freshness.
Chef's Note: This is one place I do use table salt. In general I prefer kosher salt and gray salt, but kosher salt is too heavy and will not stay distributed throughout the coating.
Yield: about 5 cups
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