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Fried chicken

June 27, 2007

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Serves 4

SPICE MIX

1/4cup salt
1tablespoon black pepper
1teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2teaspoon dried oregano
1tablespoon flour
1. In a bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, red pepper, oregano, and flour.

2. Mix well; set aside.

COATING

1cup coarse-ground cornmeal
1cup flour
2teaspoons salt
2teaspoons black pepper
1teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne.

2. Mix well; set aside.

CHICKEN

3cups peanut or another vegetable oil, or more as necessary (for deep-fat frying)
3pounds chicken pieces
1cup buttermilk
1. Set a large wire rack over a baking sheet. Pour enough oil into a heavy high-sided Dutch oven to make a 3-inch-deep layer. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 325 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer.

2. With paper towels, pat the chicken pieces dry. Place them in a large bowl and sprinkle generously with spice mixture.

3. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken and toss to coat it all over. Dredge the pieces one at a time in the coating, shaking off the excess. Transfer the pieces to the wire rack.

4. Using a Chinese strainer or tongs, place two pieces of chicken at a time into the hot oil. Cook for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and cook for another 10 minutes. The chicken should be a golden brown all over. The temperature of the oil should be between 300 and 325 degrees. Remove the chicken from the oil with the strainer and transfer to the wire rack to drain. Put the next two pieces of meat into the oil to fry and continue until all the chicken is cooked.

5. Let the cooked chicken sit for a few minutes. The cooked temperature of the meat should be 160 degrees when tested with a meat thermometer. Jonathan Levitt