The Secret to Great OFC

This post is about how to make excellent Oven-Fried Chicken (OFC) at home. There are 3 rules I like follow when cooking OFC at home:

1. Thighs
2. Brine
3. Mist

It’s Ok if you don’t like chicken thighs and want to use other chicken parts, but thighs are full of flavor and very juicy. This is a healthier version of fried chicken but it’s not for dieters so go ahead and leave the skin on – it results in a better crisp.

I don’t generally follow recipes so there are some approximations listed in the ingredients below. Note that the recipe listed is for 4 thigh pieces so multiply it as needed.

The first step is to brine the chicken. Since it’s a weeknight, this recipe is meant for a quick brine and not one to use for longer/overnight brining:

Quick Chicken Brine
3 cups warm water
1/4 cup Kosher Salt
1 lemon
Herbs (in this case I threw in some parsley, but sage, thyme or rosemary would also be good additions)
2 whole garlic cloves lightly crushed

Dissolve the salt with the warm water, then add the juice from the lemon, herbs, garlic and lemon halves into the brine. Add the chicken to the brine once the liquid is cool enough and soak the chicken for about 1 hour.

I use a double coating process with seasoned flour, egg dip, and then finished with panko bread crumbs.

Seasoned Flour
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp smoked paprika and/or chili powder (ancho or chipotle powder is always good)
Thyme (1 tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional – use more or less depending on your spice preference)

Egg Dip
1 egg
1/8 cup milk

Panko-Cheese Coating
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (use Microplane grater if you have one)
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Drain the brine, dredge the chicken with the seasoned flour (pic below shows seasoned flour prior to mixing), dip it into the egg-milk mixture, and then into the panko-cheese bowl. Make sure to press the bread crumb mixture onto the chicken to cover all areas.

Place the coated chicken on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and let rest for about 10 minutes (this lets the bread crumb mixture adhere to the chicken).

The 3rd rule, Mist, is really the secret to the crispness. I use an oil mister and spray a thin coat of Olive Oil over the chicken – this helps the bread crumbs get more brown and crispy (the oil mister is shown on the upper right):

The chicken post-misting:

After misting, bake the chicken in a pre-heated 400F degree oven for about 50-55 minutes. The finished product is served with sweet white summer corn and creamed lacinato kale:

We paired this meal with Tami Grillo, talented winemaker Arianna Occhipinti’s white Sicilian wine:

Note: occasionally, recipes will be posted to this blog, hope you don’t mind.

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