Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crunchy Glory Fried Chicken

"It's not any good unless it's got some grease in it."
Tina Turner

This was my family's favorite chicken recipe. The dish first became popular in the 50's, when people became fascinated by the culinary possibilities of the potato chip. Maybe it should be called Tina Turner Fried Chicken. It's sumptuously greasy, but if you MUST pump up the health factor, substitute extra virgin olive oil for the peanut oil.

Pour most of a bag of Lay's potato chips, the ridged kind, into a sturdy plastic bag. The chips should be fresh, not the kind that have been mellowing on top of your refrigerator in a gaping bag for three months. Take your rolling pin and whale away at the chips until they're ground small. Put them into a bowl.

Dry your cut-up chicken pieces on paper towels. Next, roll them in vegetable oil (peanut oil is best, but corn will do) and then in the ground chips. Make sure they're very well coated all over. Place them skin side up, in a shallow pan big enough so that the pieces aren't crowded. Bake at 375 degrees for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on the doneness you prefer. I like to bake chicken until I KNOW that hen won't scratch no more. There's nothing more disgusting than seeing blood and raw tendons on a nasty, undercooked bird. At 90 minutes the pieces will have reached a deep, crusty, delicious mahogany brown. Let them cool slightly, then have at it.

This is so good it's ridiculous. Even if you've eaten half the bird, you'll still want to scrape the crispy bits out of the pan. Sweetened iced tea is nice with this; or you might try a favorite picnic drink of the 50's: a tall glass filled with half grape juice, half 7 Up, and ice. And to round out the 50's theme, and make your heart and eyes glad, you might serve the meal on one of those lovely vintage tablecloths: crisp cotton that you've ironed, with a design of berries and green vines and rosy flowers...


  1. I was tasting the chicken and the sweet sparkling grape, but I was eating on a garishly yellow, boldly flowered oil cloth.Thanks, not only for the great recipe but also for the fun in reading about it.

  2. Hi Margaret,

    I just wrote you a long comment, which disappeared when my downtown server blipped. I really hate that.

    This won't be as clever, but here goes. This post is another in your entertaining series of narrations as recipes, or vice-versa. Coming from a Mediterranean tradition, I must truly stretch my culinary mind to grasp the beauty of the recipe. But you are a persuasive writer.

    On another note, I really appeciate the intelligent and thoughtful comments that you leave on my blog. Your love of literature and film make you an ideal reader. I often feel like you are one of the few who understand the difficulty of writing short narration.

    The illustrations are another challenge completely, and that too I think you truly understand. I value that so much.

    I just put you at the top of my blog roll, so you might be getting some new traffic.