This flavor-packed crust has plenty of texture (from oats and herbs) and colorful
specks of green.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon garlic powder (fresh garlic
burns when fried)
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
fresh sage leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
5-6 sprigs fresh basil leaves
6 egg whites
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup beer
Canola oil for frying
1 whole frying chicken (cut up) or
2-3 pounds tenders, drumettes or drumsticks (remove skin if desired)
In a food-processor bowl, combine flour, oats, garlic powder, salt, black
and red pepper, and all herbs. Pulse just until ingredients are thoroughly mixed
and herbs are in large, still-discernible chunks. (You want texture and color
here.) Place this breading mix in a gallon-size freezer bag and shake.
Using a hand-held or conventional blender, beat egg whites, mustard and
beer until frothy. Pour into a shallow baking pan.
In a frying pan, heat an inch of canola or other vegetable oil until hot.
Working piece by piece, dip chicken in egg-white mixture, then place in plastic
bag and shake until thoroughly coated with breading. For an extra-thick crust,
repeat the procedure.
Fry each piece until golden brown on all sides and until juices run clear
when pierced with a fork. This should take about 15-17 minutes for whole pieces
of chicken or 10 minutes for chicken tenders.
Drain on several thicknesses of paper towels.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
If you wish to make fried chicken the day before a picnic, drain it thoroughly
on paper towels, then store it in the refrigerator on a clean layer of paper towels,
covered only by a second layer of paper towels on top. This keeps it crispy, whereas
covering the chicken with plastic wrap or foil makes it soggy.
Source: From a story by herb gardener Lynn Alley in the April/May issue of Natural
Home & Garden.