When I was a little fellow I lived in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania. Many diners that we ate at had a fried chicken that had just a thin crispy amber coating. The order was usually a half of a chicken. I have been living in North Carolina for 24 years now and have not come across anything close. I would like to know how to make it.
I can't claim familiarity with that particular area's style of fried chicken, but I have two ideas that may meet that description:
- Korean fried chicken wings with ultra-thin crust a la http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/10/the-food-lab-korean-fried-chicken.html
- Double fried chicken wings with no batter a la http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/01/the-food-lab-how-to-make-best-buffalo-wings-fry-again-ultimate-crispy-deep-fried-buffalo-wings.html
I know these are recipes for wings, but I would assume this would translate well to other pieces of chicken. Both of them start with a neutral base that you can modify with sauces etc. to your liking. I'm afraid I don't really have a good recipe for breaded fried chicken though, something about good Korean fried chicken makes everything else pale in comparison ;)
I've lived in the Pittsburgh area all of my life. My great grandma and grandma always made fried chicken the same way. They just tossed the chicken pieces with a dusting of flour, salt and pepper, and pan fried it, in a VERY scant amount of oil, skin side down first, and then turning. Usually they would cover it near the end of cooking, after adding just a small amount of water to the pan and turning it skin side down, to get all the delicious gooey fond off the bottom of the pan.
Here it is. Straight from my sister in law who was born in Pennsylvania. The first time I saw her cook fried chicken I though she was crazy, no coating and no breading. Heat the skillet and add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. If you were lucky enough to plan ahead, you could soak the chicken in salted water, but she didn't. She took it out of the wrapper, rinsed it off and tossed in in the skillet with the hot oil. Salt and pepper the chicken and let it cook on low to medium. Hot enough to cook, but hot enough to scorch the chicken. When the chicken is browned with a nice 'ccoked' browning, turn it over and cook the other side. Salt and pepper each time you turn it. Cook all sides. It will take about twenty to thirty minutes to cook this way, but the results are terrific. She calls it Yankee Fried Chicken.
When the chicken is cooked through (check by inserting knife into thigh or leg. If the meat or bone is still pink, even slightly pink, cook it longer.
When browned on all sides, remove chicken from pan and set aside. Cover loosely with foil. If necessary, add a tablespoon of butter to the drippings in the pan. Stir in flour, salt and pepper to make a roux. You can make 'Yankee Gravy" by adding hot water to the roux. You can also use chicken stock,
That's how you do it.
Here's the real deal fried chicken without breading... best to use legs or thighs. Soak chicken with skin on at least overnight in a sealed container with buttermilk, plenty of sea salt, and pepper to taste, next day, place chicken on a rack to drain/dry.. heat a good frying pan to medium high heat, not high, with sunflower or peanut oil, enough so it will be half way up the side of the chicken pieces in the pan. When the oil is hot, add your skin on chicken pieces, turning every 2-3 minutes until done, this will be the crispiest, juiciest and most delicious chicken you will ever eat! The skin is the breading and it seals all the flavor in the chicken pieces. Enjoy!
I've been cooking for years, I take my chicken, put what seasonings I want on it, then coat the chicken with honey and put it in the deep fryer, no breading, no flour or anything. Cooking is sort of my hobby. Experiment with what you want, keep in mind every cooking method is unique to the person doing it and or writing it.