Oven-Fried Chicken & a Peach Salad


Spicy, Oven-Fried Chicken  |  A Salad of Peaches, Mozzarella & Basil


Intro Collage

Deep frying {anything} does not take place in my kitchen.  Unfortunately, not because of any nutritional concerns but rather…it’s messy, very messy.  Even though I have been known to savor the crisp, salty skin of fried chicken as well as tender, golden french fries, I simply cannot face the prospect of cleaning splattered grease from every nook & cranny of my kitchen.  Even cooking bacon or another family favorite, Perfect Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs, results in a thorough kitchen scrub down.  With that being said, I am always on the lookout for ways to fake it improvise, such as with these Bistro French Fries and Southwestern-Spiced Sweet Potato Fries.

I have made this Spicy, Oven-Fried Chicken several times since it first appeared in the June, 2000 issue of Bon Appétit and each time it never fails to satisfy that craving for salty, crunchy-coated chicken with moist, tender meat.  Make extra for lunch the next day…it tastes wonderful cold as well.

Spicy, Oven-Fried Chicken {adapted from Bon Appétit}

  • 2½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons Tabasco sauce {or other hot pepper sauce}
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 24 chicken pieces {thighs and drumsticks} with skin and bones, rinsed and dried
  • 2 cups dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  1. Whisk buttermilk, oil, hot pepper sauce, mustard, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend well.  In a large dish {or two}, arrange chicken pieces in a single layer.  Top the chicken with the sliced onions.  Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken and the onions, making sure it thoroughly coats the chicken. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or up to 1 day, turning chicken occasionally.
  2. Place racks on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Whisk breadcrumbs, cheese, flour, thyme, paprika, cayenne and 2 teaspoons salt in large baking dish to blend. Remove chicken from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Add chicken to breadcrumb mixture and turn to coat completely. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on racks on baking sheets. Let stand 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Drizzle butter over chicken. Bake until crisp, golden and cooked through, about 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chicken Collage

For the past week, my neighborhood market has been stacking piles of this lovely fruit on the produce tables…


We have been enjoying these white peaches in the morning with yogurt, in the afternoon with lunch or as a snack on their own and now, as the featured star in a dinner salad.  Generously sized, the fruit has been so incredibly tender and sweet.  In his book, Ripe ~ A Cook in the Orchard, Nigel Slater writes:  “I rarely cook a peach.  They are seen in my kitchen nestling next to the crisp skin of a roast chicken salad or perhaps cold ham…generally, I keep my peaches and nectarines as they are, fragile globes of sweet flesh and sticky juice.”  This salad paired very well with the salty, crunchy chicken but it is hearty enough to stand on its own for lunch or a light summer dinner.

A Salad of Peaches, Mozzarella & Basil  {adapted  from Ripe ~ A Cook in the Orchard, by Nigel Slater}

  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • a pinch of sea salt, or to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves {about 30}, thinly sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-5 ripe peaches {or nectarines}
  • 10-12 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 4-5 handfuls of salad greens {I used a spring mix}
  1. Begin by making the dressing. In a small bowl, place the vinegar, sea salt, olive oil and crème fraîche and gently whisk to combine.  Stir in the basil leaves as well as a few grinds {from a pepper mill} of black pepper.  Set aside while you assemble the remaining ingredients on plates.
  2. Slice the peaches.  Divide the prosciutto slices among the dinner plates and top the prosciutto with 3 peach slices and a slice of mozzarella.  Gently toss the salad greens with some of the dressing and add to the plates.  Serve immediately.

Peach Salad Collage

The finished dinner plate…




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