Buttermilk Fried Chicken

_MG_6495I think we can all agree that fried chicken is basically the perfect food. Salty, crunchy, pairs well with anything from waffles to salad...what more do you need? But though I love fried chicken, I had attempted to make it only once before, when Ari and I spent our first Thanksgiving together (cooking a whole turkey for two people seemed like overkill). I used the same recipe as below, but didn't have an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil, so while the chicken tasted good, it was a little too dark on  the outside for my liking._MG_6492This time, I was prepared and was even ready to substitute regular flour for gluten-free (I used thisone, but found I prefer this). It worked out surprisingly well, and I would have been hard-pressed to tell the difference had I not known already._MG_6494I've already waxed on about my love for Thomas Keller, so no need to reiterate it here – but be warned, if you brine your chicken (which you should, to make it incredibly juicy), you need to do so 12-24 hours before you plan to fry it. It's worth it, I promise. I served the chicken here with a simple slaw of red cabbage, scallions and shredded carrots tossed with a little apple cider vinegar, and watermelon rind pickles.

_MG_6477

Buttermilk Fried Chicken (adapted from Ad Hoc)

1 gallon cold water 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey 12 bay leaves 1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled 2 tablespoons black peppercorns 3 large rosemary sprigs, or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary 1 small bunch of thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme 1 small bunch of parsley Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons 5-6 pounds chicken pieces (such as breasts and thighs)
3 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour) 2 tablespoons garlic powder 2 tablespoons onion powder 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 2 cups buttermilk Corn oil, for frying
  1. In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chicken pieces, being sure they're completely submerged, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the chickens and pat dry. Scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the skin and cut each bird into 8 pieces, keeping the breast meat on the bone.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  4. In a very large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of  oil to 330°. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and crunchy and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 160°, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain, and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, and serve hot or at room temperature.

Butternut Squash Agnoletti with Curry Emulsion

_MG_5484I have a confession to make: I met Thomas Keller for a very brief moment a few months ago I was completely starstruck. He was, of course, just as charismatic as you might imagine (and taller than I had pictured), and of course, passionate about his cooking. I remember getting the French Laundry Cookbook from the library when I was in high school, poring over the pictures and marveling at the recipes. _MG_5476It was astonishing that anyone could take the time to make all of the separate components for just one dish at the French Laundry – but the part I loved the most was that Chef Keller didn't dumb anything down for the home cook, like many cookbooks do: if you wanted to make Oysters and Pearls like they have at the French Laundry, then damn it, you were going to have the same recipe the trained cooks have there. It might not look or taste exactly the same, but if Thomas Keller thinks you can do it, then I think that's a pretty good endorsement._MG_5488

Needless to say, I'm kind of obsessed with anything Keller-related and every single thing I have made from the Ad Hoc Cookbook has been delicious. So when I came across a recipe on Epicurious for Fava Bean Agnoletti with Curry Emulsion, I knew I had to try it out, particularly since I had been wanting to try my hand at a filled pasta for a while as well. I swapped the fava beans for a more winter-appropriate roasted butternut squash, and I have to say that this might be my favorite pasta sauce ever. Surprisingly simple, and yet with a  complexity that complements the creamy pasta perfectly. You could, of course, make the sauce to use with store-bought pasta, but if you have a couple of extra hours on a weekend I truly think it's worth the effort. And you don't want to let Thomas Keller down, do you?_MG_5663

 

_MG_5667

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Curry Emulsion (adapted from Epicurious)

Filling:

2 cups roasted butternut squash 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste 1/2 recipe Pasta Dough (I included the link as the instructions are very thorough)

Curry Emulsion

2 teaspoons curry powder 2 tablespoons chopped shallots 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable stock, chicken stock or water 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup crème fraîche 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup arugula

For filling:

Place the squash, cheese and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth and season well with salt and pepper, then refrigerate the mixture until it is cool, or for up to 2 days.

Roll out the dough and fill the agnolotti according to the To Fill Agnolotti instructions. You should have approximately 48 agnolotti.

To complete: For the curry emulsion, toast the curry powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is fragrant. Stir in the shallots and heat for another minute. Add the 3/4 cup stock, the cream and crème fraîche, bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Swirl in the butter. When the butter is melted, transfer the sauce to a blender. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons stock and blend for 30 seconds to emulsify the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and strain into a wide pan.

Meanwhile, cook the agnolotti in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

Drain the agnolotti, add the agnolotti and arugula to the curry emulsion, and toss over low heat to coat with sauce. Serve immediately.