Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Panko Fried Chicken Thighs

I love spicy crispy fried chicken. When I was 10 years old I would take the candy money my grandmother Jessie gave me and go to the local butcher shop and buy 5 pounds of chicken wings. I would bring them back and practicing my cooking and eating skills. I am a chicken junkie. The savory aroma of well-cooked chicken is like a powerful pheromone drawing me closer for some serious fowl munching.

Like most cooks, I am always trying new ways to play with an old favorite. I have used many things as a crumb breading. The short list includes regular bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, potato flakes, crushed corn flakes, ground nuts. Today I feel a bit nostalgic, I want some chicken which was marinated in buttermilk. Many times I have done a double buttermilk dip and flour dredge method. I wanted something lighter and crisper.

The process of breading is simple. The ingredient list may seem a bit long at first; But the marinade and the dredging mixture both use the same ingredients. I also like that it is a single dip and dredge process. It makes a lighter breading without an extra flour step and dip before dredging the chicken in the panko mix.

Mise en Place

Let's get busy with our prep work, it should not take a long time.


  • Large cast iron skillet or deep fryer
  • Long handled tongs
  • Wire draining rack or paper towels.


  • 1 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Buttermilk Marinade
  • Panko Dredging Mix
  • Cooking oil with a high smoke point

Buttermilk Marinade


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco chipotle sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large ziplock bag.
  2. Put the chicken into the marinating bag.
  3. Remove as much air as you can and close it tightly.
  4. Knead the bag to work the marinade into the meat.
  5. Let the chicken rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours..

Panko Dredging Mix


  • 1½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne


  1. Combine the ingredients in a large paper bag.
  2. Close and shake well to mix.
  3. Reserve the panko mixture until needed.

Bringing it all Together

  1. Heat your oil to 350°
  2. Drain the thigh pieces in a colander.
  3. Put them into the dredging bag one at a time.
  4. Shake the bag each time you add a piece of chicken.
  5. Let stand a minute and shake well again.
  6. Remove the breaded pieces from the bag.
  7. Let them rest a couple of minutes to let the breading set up.
  8. Place the chicken into the hot oil carefully.
  9. If you are frying in a skillet. turn your chicken after 10 minutes.
  10. Cook until brown and the juices run clear.
  11. You want an interior temperature of 165°
  12. Remove and drain on a rack or paper towels.
  13. Carry over cooking will bring the temperature to 180° after 10 minutes.
  14. Serve while hot with a assortment of dipping sauces.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Original Green Goddess Dressing

This classic creamy, herb flavored salad dressing was named for its green tint. The most accepted theory regarding its origins points to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in the 1920s. The hotel's executive chef wanted something to pay tribute to actor George Arliss and his hit play, The Green Goddess. He then concocted this dressing, which, like the play, became a hit. It enjoyed great success, especially in California, for decades and, in my opinion, Green Goddess Dressing is long overdue for a revival.

This dressing includes mayonnaise, anchovies, vinegar, green onion, garlic, parsley, tarragon and chives. It can be prepared in a blender or food processor and is good served as a dressing for steamed artichokes, a seafood salad, or as a sauce over broiled fish. If you don't have fresh tarragon, you can use ¼ teaspoon dried, instead.

Yields: 2 cups



  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh chives or minced scallions
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Pour over favorite salad or greens.

Blender Hollandaise

There are times when I become obsessed with a dish and have a need to make the perfect plate of that recipe. My recent food obsession has been the quest for the perfect serving of Eggs Benedict. There is a mystique about the dish, which stirs memories of a more civilized era. Most people think of Eggs Benedict as a food that you eat when dining out, instead of home breakfast fare. I think the reason is a fear that the cook has a lack of basic skills. Poaching an egg is not difficult task. The problem is a fear of making the Hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise sauce is one of the classic mother sauces of French cuisine. The sauce has a reputation of being temperamental. The labor of whisking, fear of scrambling the eggs, all make the timid flee the kitchen. Fear not! Armed with a few modern tricks we can tame this sauce. One tip for success is that keeping the sauce warm and unbroken is trickier than the actual preparation. If you can find a small vacuum bottle (Thermos) use it to keep your Hollandaise warm and happy until you need it.


  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Melt the butter in a small pan until bubbling hot, avoid browning the milk solids.
  2. Put the remaining ingredients in the blender.
  3. Put the lid on the blender.
  4. Whip the mixture on the high setting for 30 seconds.
  5. Open the center hole on the lid of the blender.
  6. Drizzle the hot butter very slowly into the egg lemon juice mixture,
  7. Continue blending on high as you pour the melted butter.
  8. Be sure to allow time between drops for the butter to emulsify with the egg.
  9. You will see a silky change in consistency and a lightening of the color.
  10. Serve immediately.