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Buttermilk Country Fried Chicken with Cucumber Salad

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Serves 2

  • by Allison Ehri Kreitler from Fine Cooking
    Issue 83

Many buttermilk fried chicken recipes call for marinating the chicken overnight, but not this one. Here, a dip in the buttermilk and a dredge in flour is all you need to get the golden, crunchy coating everyone loves. The bright cucumber salad balances out the meal.

  • 1/4 cup halved and very thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 very small clove garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil, plus 1 to 1-1/4 cups for frying
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 heaping cup sliced)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3/4 lb. total), pounded to an even thickness (about 1/2 inch thick)

Put the onion in a small bowl, cover it with very hot water, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Roughly chop the garlic, sprinkle it with a generous pinch of salt, and mash it into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife. In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed garlic, 1 Tbs. oil, 2 Tbs. buttermilk, the lemon juice, dill, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Toss the cucumber in the bowl with the dressing. Drain the onion, toss it with the cucumber salad, and let sit to allow the flavors to meld.

Put the flour in a shallow bowl and, in another shallow bowl, mix the remaining 3/4 cup buttermilk with 1 tsp. salt. Season the chicken with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk and then dredge it in the flour. (You can let the chicken sit in the flour while the oil heats; gently shake off excess flour before cooking.)

Choose a skillet (preferably cast iron) that’s large enough to fit the chicken. Pour in oil to a depth of 1/4 inch (about 1 cup for a 10-inch skillet or 1-1/4 cups for an 11-inch skillet). Heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering and the chicken sizzles briskly when a corner is dipped in the oil, cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to paper towels and pat lightly to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle the chicken with a pinch of salt and serve it with the cucumber salad.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Basic Black-Eyed Peas and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on two servings; Calories (kcal): 320; Fat (g): 14; Fat Calories (kcal): 120; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 37; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): 960; Cholesterol (mg): 95; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I split the breasts in half and then let them soak in the buttermilk for about an hour. Great recipe!

I found the chicken tasty and tender, but really wanted a crisp crust. Mine was utterly soggy, and I'd love to know what went wrong. I liked the cucumber salad, but doubled the dill (I like dill, and it wasn't overpowering at 2 Tbsp) and added a teaspoon of rice vinegar pursuant to the critiques that it was bland.

The chicken was surprisingly delicious with so few ingredients and makes a beautiful crust. You truly don't miss the skin at all. I agree with a previous reviewer that the salad was nothing to write home about, but it is refreshing and simple and pairs nicely with the chicken. I'll do it again tonight, but I'll also search for another cucumber salad recipe in the future. I'll also include mashed potatoes because I love my carbs and it just seems to be missing something otherwise. For dessert, some sweet, ripe canteloupe slices. :)

Quick and easy for a weeknight dinner! Chicken was very good but I'll pass on the cucumber salad next time.

Quick, easy, and still delicious.

I agree with the other reviewers. This is a winner - the chicken is tender and light. The cucumber salad is wonderful and could easily stand alone for a summer salad - plan to make this a lot!

The buttermilk tenderizes the chicken. This comes out great! An easy weeknight dish. I made a cream gravy from the pan drippings and served with steamed rice and the cucumber salad. My boyfriend was in heaven!

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