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Herb Fried Chicken

This flavor-packed crust has plenty of texture (from oats and herbs) and colorful specks of green.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 6-8 sprigs 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)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Using a hand-held or conventional blender, beat egg whites, mustard and beer until frothy. Pour into a shallow baking pan.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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