They backed me into a corner. I mean what kind of food blogger can’t fry chicken? That’s not what they said exactly, but that what’s I heard. Miles outside of New York City, in small-town Pennsylvania, I was forced to face my fear of frying.
Any recipe that calls for more than a ½ cup of oil gets me jittery. All I can think about is splattered walls, soggy crust, and a P-in-the-A clean up. Until now, I’ve dealt with this problem by practicing avoidance. But fried chicken was my friend Alex’s birthday request, I’m supposed to be a cook, and I just don’t have the balls to disappoint a house full of people.
Truth: I’ve been fantasizing about frying chicken long enough to have Martha Stewart’s recipe memorized. The moment was destined to come to fruition.
The oil popped and I gulped white wine. Poised in front of a cookie sheet of flour and a bowl of dairy slicked chicken parts, I thought of Michelle Kwan and Michael Phelps. If they could ice skate and swim to Olympic stardom, I could fry some bird.
With each coated piece laid safely in the oil, my confidence grew- yeah Michel Phelps, you and me- champions baby.
Twelve minutes of cooking on each side produced crusty, golden, chunks. Hunched over plates, people oohed and aahed like I had just done a triple lutz. Can I get some applause? Each piece was checked with the instant read thermometer to ensure 165 degree bacteria free moistness. It was like everything I had ever learned about cooking lead up to that moment.
By the last batch, I felt secure enough to hand over my tongs and abandon post to raid the cheese plate. Tired and moving slow, I walked away from the stove with the vegetable oil sheen of a champion. Fear got its butt kicked.