Our good friends Nancy Jo and Darryl kindly invited us to dinner recently. Via texting and e-mails, NJ and I were trying to decide what we should have to eat. A restaurant we wanted to try was going to be closed; we had just eaten pizza. As we were going back and forth, I noticed the Safeway grocery ad on my desk. At the top of the ad was a spread featuring "$5 Dollar Friday." The ad showed a large variety of food specials for Friday, among them eight pieces of fried chicken. I suggested to NJ that I could pick up fried chicken, potato salad, and green salad for around $15 -- an easy and cheap dinner. We agreed on that plan.
I clocked out of work at 3:00 and headed to the post office and then Safeway. I had finished most of my shopping when I approached the deli section. I looked for the chicken in the area where I thought it would be. Instead, there were empty shelves and this sign: "Fried Chicken line is on Aisle 1." Huh. All right, I got my bearings and headed that direction. I turned right on Aisle 1 and was astounded to see a line of people, filling the aisle 2/3 down. Partway down, I saw my co-worker Michelle, who said "I came here right when I got off work." Wow. We both leave at 3:00, and it was now 4:00. I decided that I would give it a try, and got in line.
A nice man in front of me noticed that I was a little taken aback by the line. He said that he and his wife drove in from Pahoa (about thirty minutes from Hilo) for the chicken. "It's really good," he said, "and we shop in tandem." Sure enough, his wife walked up, tossed some items into the basket, and took off again. I started looking at my compatriots and noticed that several others had the team thing going, too.
At the 10-minute mark, I began worrying about the perishable items I had in my cart ("wagon," here in Hawaii) and also noticed a great number of misplaced items in the freezers to my right. Apparently, others had taken perishable items out of their wagons, put them into the freezer to stay cold, and then forgotten about them. Cleanup on Aisle 1.
At 15 minutes, the line moved. It was very exciting. I got to the first third of the line, and it stopped. A young man from behind in line me went to investigate. He came back, sadly shaking his head, to announce that the pan of chicken had sold out, and that it would probably be another hour for the next one. Another hour? No. I now had 20 minutes into this, and I am a firm believer that time is money. It was time to give up.
As I turned my cart from the line, the man standing behind me said, "No, don't go! " I thought that was a little odd. "It's okay," I said. "I know how to make fried chicken." He actually then said, "If you want to come back, I'll give you back your place in line." Um, okay.
So there you have it: A very long introduction to my post about how to make fried chicken.
Jacqui's Chicken (named for Miss Scarlett's friend Jacqui, who absolutely loves this recipe). Adapted from the Junior League Cookbook.
Serves 4 - 6
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup white flour
1 t. rice flour
1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 t. Lawry's seasoning salt
3 eggs, beaten
Oil for frying, approximately 6 T.
Tonkatsu Sauce (for dipping)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire
2 T. shoyu (soy sauce)
Combine ketchup, Worcestershire, and shoyu. Chill until ready to serve with the chicken.
Put chicken breasts (two will fit at a time) into a gallon Ziploc and pound with a mallet to 1/2" thickness.
Combine white flour, rice flour, and Lawry's seasoning salt on a plate. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture.
Next, dip the chicken breasts into the egg wash and let the excess egg drain off.
Combine the panko crumbs and parmesan cheese.
Finally, dredge the chicken breasts in the panko-parmesan mixture.
Heat oil to medium-high. When pan is hot, carefully add chicken breasts. Fry four minutes, and turn chicken. Reduce heat and flip chicken again; fry for another four minutes. Turn off pan so chicken can cool just a little, about ten minutes.
Place chicken breasts on cutting board and slice into one-inch strips with very sharp , large knife (if you saw the chicken or use a dull knife, the crispy breading will fall off).
Serve over bed of shredded cabbage with Tonkatsu sauce. Great with potato-macaroni salad, rice, and tossed green salad.