Part of what makes food so powerful is that it roots us to memories. We can taste a dish again years later, and it still has the potential to bring up long forgotten feelings or details. There are certain dishes that remind me of my childhood and my mother – Lemon Meringue Pie, her meatloaf, a big skillet of spaghetti with garlic bread, and her fried chicken!
My Mom’s Fried Chicken is so simple -3 ingredients simple – but, over the years, people always want to know the recipe after tasting it. They want to know the secret. Well, I am here to tell you all this supposed secret – salt. When Mom fries the chicken, she salts the meat which gives the crispy outside skin the best flavor. It is seriously addicting. My husband’s dinner plate after eating would be proof of that… but, of course, I’m not mean enough to actually take a picture and show you how much he ate. 😉
- Oil for frying - I used part vegetable oil and part extra virgin olive oil
- Place oil in a skillet to heat up. There should only be about an inch of oil in the pan; enough to come no more than halfway up the piece of chicken.
- Coat the chicken in flour. To make this easy, my mom has always put flour in a brown paper bag (like an old school lunch bag), added a piece of chicken and shook. It's not a new concept, but it's effective.
- Slowly add chicken to the pan when the oil is hot and salt the tops. Do NOT overcrowd the pan. This will lower the temperature of the oil.
- For drumsticks, I cooked about 10 minutes on each side, plus a couple minutes with them on both sides. I used my meat thermometer to make sure they were done. When I flip the chicken, I salt the other side as well. If you are using bigger pieces, it will take longer.
- When done, I move the chicken to a wire rack with paper towels underneath to cool and drain.
NOTE 1: They say cast iron skillets are the best for pan frying, but you don’t need one. I use a fairly shallow fry pan that came with my set of pans. I do want to invest in a fry pan that’s a bit deeper though – maybe it will make less of a mess.
NOTE 2: Depending on the size of your chicken and cut of meat, you might want to consider baking the chicken the rest of the way after getting the perfect golden outside. You can also try turning down the heat of the flame so that your chicken can cook longer without burning.
Here is the thing about fried chicken – there are SO many “perfect” recipes. I like the simple ones, like my Mom’s Fried Chicken. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients, it doesn’t take a lot of prep time, and it is always tasty.
Here is the other thing about fried chicken – It takes trial and error. The first time I made it, the drumsticks turned out PERFECT! I took a bite and it reminded me of being at home with fried chicken, corn on the cob and a salad. My bigger pieces were hit and miss. I was rushing a bit and didn’t take the time to turn the heat down just slightly to let those big pieces cook longer. I also blame the grocery store for giving me mutant ROID chickens, but that’s another story.
What recipes remind you of home and your mom?