December 31, 2013

Dante Gonzales - Tips on Frying Chicken

(I never thought about substituting tofu while pursuing my experiments!)

From an interview session with Oprah Winfrey:

  • Don't use just any oil: “The types of oil and temperature will have a great impact on the crust – and sometimes flavor – of your chicken. Using a high heat point oil like canola, peanut, or walnut oil is the way to help get that crispy non-greasy crust. I love unrefined peanut oil, as it imparts a roasted peanut essence to the crust.”
  • Before frying, think brining: You’ll want to brine the meat to get the moist, juicy texture we all look for. Gonzales says, “Using a brine that is acidic is all you will need, like buttermilk, salt water, yogurt, tea, beer, and fruit juices. It’s important to let the chicken brine for at least 3 hours, but not over 24-34 hours.”
  • Start "sextet spicing": Gonzales uses six key spices: paprika, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and cayenne. He says, “In my opinion, this is the basis of traditional spicing for fried chicken. You can add other spices and even fresh herbs, but if you have at least these six, you are golden.”
  • Go for the crunch:He also recommends adding texture by way of crushed corn flakes, shredded wheat cereal, stale bread crumbs, nuts, oats, or cornmeal. “I save all stale pieces of bread crumbs, crackers, nuts, and cereals in an airtight container and use them later on the chicken.”
  • Or...skip the chicken and try tofu: At his luncheon, I found myself unable to stop chowing down on his chicken-nugget-esque tofu. In a word, it was divine. Gonzales uses a specific type of tofu that's gone through a fermentation process; he recommends buying from the New York-based May Wha. Its version mimics the texture of meat incredibly well. He also suggests supermarket labels like Quoron, Morning Star, and Lifelite as good options for your Meatless Mondays.
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