Fried chicken is something I’ve always wanted to be good at making, but never was. Once I tried to make wings for a football game that Jon and his friends were watching at his apartment and they came out completely raw inside. After that disaster I postponed my second attempt at fried chicken (because nothing scares me more than raw chicken) until a few years later when Jon and I got really into making our own hot wings at home during football season. The wings actually turned out pretty good on our first try, and with some homemade hot sauce, it was a fun alternative to watching the game at the bar.
Since those hot wings, I’ve been thinking about making a traditional fried chicken bite. The other week at the farmer’s market there were some beautiful green tomatoes, and I thought of combining them in relish form with the fried chicken. I wanted the chicken to be really savory and spicy while the garnish would be cool and sweet. I thought the sweetness of the root beer would go well with the cinnamon and sugar in the tomato relish. All together, this bite turned out to be an interesting sweet and spicy flavor combination. I’ll definitely be making fried chicken again soon.
12 chicken wings, drumsticks and wings separated and cleaned
For the Green Tomato Relish:
2 green tomatoes, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced with seeds removed
1 cup yellow onions, diced
½ pickle, finely diced
½ cup yellow squash, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup salt
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp celery seed
1 tbsp of parsley, chiffonnade
1. Dice the tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, onion, pickle, and squash. Crush the garlic and mix everything together with the salt. Put in a bowl and cover. Leave in the fridge overnight.
2. After the vegetable mixture has soaked for at least 12 hours, strain of all liquid.
3. Bring both vinegars, sugar, cinnamon, turmeric and celery seed to a boil. Pour over strained vegetables and mix well, allow to cool. Stir in fresh parsley.
For the Root Beer Glaze:
½ cup yellow onions, diced
1 tbsp garlic, made into a paste
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp honey
¼ cup root beer
1. Heat oil in a small sauté pan and sweat onions and garlic until they are softened and slightly browned. Mix in tomato paste.
2. Add honey to the pan and allow to caramelize slightly. Deglaze with root beer and reduce.
3. Blend the sauce with a hand blender until pureed. Season with salt and pepper.
For the Buttermilk Marinade:
3 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp celery seed
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lime
Fresh ground pepper
1. Prepare the chicken by separating the drumsticks from the wings and cleaning the drumstick bones of all cartilage and fat.
2. Mix buttermilk, hot sauce, celery seed, zest and fresh ground pepper in a bowl.
3. Marinate the chicken in buttermilk overnight.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp celery seed
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
1. Mix all ingredients together with a whisk.
2. Gently remove excess buttermilk from chicken and dredge in flour. Fry in canola oil until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3. Place fried chicken on wire rack and salt immediately.
4. Top with root beer glaze and relish and serve.