Oven-Fried Buttermilk Lemon Chicken

I'm currently reading Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work and Maximum Flavor: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook, both by wife and husband team, Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot, also the authors behind the blog, Ideas in Food.

I stumbled upon their blog while trying to find a recipe for Butter Brickle Ice Cream. They do a lot of innovative cooking like adding nonfat dry milk to melted butter to amp up the yield of brown butter solids (which go into Butter Brickle Ice Cream). Or infusing mozzarella with the flavor and scent of basil using a cream whipper and cartridges of nitrous oxide. Although I might not ever employ some of their more cutting-edge techniques, their experiments still make for an interesting read.

Fortunately, they had a recipe for fried chicken that looked quite doable. I liked that there was no deep frying; I'm afraid of a pot full of hot oil. But I was a little worried the oven baking wouldn't be up to snuff  -  often oven-baked crusts are just not that crispy.

Well, fear not. Aki and Alex's recipe delivers the goods. Brining in buttermilk ensures a flavorful and juicy chicken, while preheating the baking sheet promises a terrific crunch.

I had leftover bread crumbs so I combined that with cut up broccoli and popped it into the oven to roast alongside the chicken. Quick and Easy Coleslaw completed the meal.

Oven-Fried Buttermilk Lemon Chicken
Adapted from Maximum Flavor: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook by Aki Kamozawa & H. Alexander Talbot
Serves 4-6

In a large bowl, whisk together:
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp Boyajian lemon oil or lemon essential oil or grated zest from 2 lemons
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Add and stir gently to coat:
4 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

Meanwhile make the bread crumbs by combining in a medium bowl:
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs 
2 Tbs freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion onion powder
1/2 tsp sweet Spanish paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

About 15 minutes before you are ready to bread chicken, preheat oven to 450°F.

Place a large rimmed baking sheet - big enough to fit all of the chicken in a single layer (or use two pans if necessary) - in the oven to preheat.

Pour bread crumbs in a wide, shallow bowl. Lift each chicken piece out of brine and let drain a bit. Place chicken in bowl of bread crumbs. Turn a few times to coat chicken thoroughly, then gently shake off excess crumbs and transfer to a large cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Discard brine.

Once all of the chicken has been coated and the oven is hot, remove the rimmed baking sheet from the oven and add:
4 Tbs unsalted butter, diced

Swirl pan so butter coats bottom evenly. Immediately add chicken, skin side down, and put in oven. Lower oven temperature to 400°F and cook for 20 minutes.  Flip over chicken pieces and bake until golden brown and the meat is starting to pull back from the tips of the bones, about 20 more minutes. Remove pan from oven and let chicken rest on baking pan for 10 minutes before serving.

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