Fennel Fried Chicken
with strawberry rhubarb sweet & sour
Serve it hot or serve it cold, this recipe is a timeless summer crowd pleaser.
1 chicken (3-4 pounds) parted
1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
1⁄3 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons whole fennel seed
4 cups all purpose four
4 cups cornflakes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
2 cups buttermilk
Vegetable oil for frying
2 teaspoons fennel pollen
1 tablespoon Maldon salt
Make a brine:
Combine 4 cups water, the kosher salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves and fennel seed in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before using it. It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Once brine is completely cool, add the chicken pieces and refrigerate overnight.
Bring the chicken in the brine to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the brine and allow to cool. Discard the brine.
Make the batter by combining 2 cups of the flour, cornstarch and the cornflakes in a gallon sized plastic bag. Seal the bag and use your hands to crush the mixture and combine.
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees.
Put the remaining 2 cups of flour and the ground fennel in a shallow baking dish. Pour the buttermilk into a second shallow baking dish. Pour the cornflake mixture into a third baking dish. Dredge each piece of the chicken in the flour, then the buttermilk, and finally the cornflake mixture to coat well. Working in batches, drop into the oil and fry until golden brown, turning as needed, 5-6 minutes. Take care not to overcrowd the fryer.
Remove the chicken from the oil, and place on a paper towel lined sheet pan, sprinkle with maldon salt and fennel pollen. Serve with strawberry rhubarb sweet & sour. I like to garnish this with bright nasturtium flowers from my garden when they are in bloom.
Strawberry Rhubarb Sweet & Sour
Makes about 2 cups
2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1⁄2 inch pieces
1 cup strawberries, stems removed, chopped into 1⁄2 inch pieces 1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
A few cracks of fresh ground pepper
In a medium heavy bottom saucepan, combine the rhubarb and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until the rhumbar becomes tender and sauce-like, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add strawberries and vinegar and pepper, stir to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.