Among the Grand Tastings and celebrity chef taco challenges at the Austin Food & Wine Festival, we ran across several demos with hot tips, and usable recipes, for the home cook. Marcus Samuelsson divulged his recipe for healthier, tastier, leftover fried chicken. And Marc Murphy teased our taste buds with a fool proof fritter.
Samuelsson's sexy fried chicken
Saturday morning, Chopped judge Marcus Samuelsson kicked off the day of demos with a packed tent full of eager foodies from across the state of Texas. Samuelsson's demo, "Sexy Leftovers," started with the cooking of a chicken and evolved into a 45-minute laugh-filled session where delectable fried chicken took center stage.
He began with a poached chicken, declaring it the stock for the best chicken soup. Add some ramen noodles, and, "Boom," Samuelsson said, you've got "the best hipster meal." After your chicken is poached, you're ready for the sexy part of the meal: tomorrow's leftovers, featuring fried chicken.
There are two reasons to cook chicken before you fry it, Samuelsson said: it's healthier and tastier. Tear small parts of the chicken and then bread it in panko crumbs (which are lighter than bread crumbs), and coat it in either rice flour or water chestnut flour (also chosen for their light qualities).
Before you fry the bird, season the oil as it is heating. Fill the pot 50 percent full of oil — to reduce the chance for messes — and start on a low heat. Crank it up to high when you add the chicken, and watch carefully. Since your chicken has been cooked already, you don't need to fry it as long. The keys to perfect fried chicken are crunch and deep flavor — these tips from Samuelsson will yield that result.
Steal the show by frying chicken skin, which Samuelsson assures makes a great hors d'oeuvre on its own, or chop it and add to mayonnaise for homemade fried chicken skin mayo. Samuelsson's freshly fried chicken was a hit with all demo attendees who were lucky enough to get a bite.
Marc Murphy's mozzarella fritters
Another crowd-pleasing, must-try dish for any home cook came from Marc Murphy, chef/owner of Landmarc in New York City. Murphy's "Fool Proof Dishes" demo featured the classic (and easy) beer can chicken, as well as a show-stopping appetizer of smoked mozzarella fritters.
To make the fritters, mix ricotta, chopped mozzarella, parmesan, heavy cream, three eggs and baking soda in a large bowl. Slowly add up to two cups of flour, until the mixture is the consistency of spoonbread. Season with salt and pepper, then heat your oil.
Drop the cheesy mix (a hefty spoon will do the trick) into the oil and lightly fry. Once complete, serve with a tomato dipping sauce. Sounds rather sexy — and fool proof — to us.