Extra virgin olive oil fried chicken

BY: OFENTSE SEFOLO

Fried chicken is by far the best tasting thing in the world… well for me and 10 thousand others like me. Sadly, this taste fest is not always the healthiest choice.

What if I told you that we can enjoy our beloved fried chicken with a fraction of the guilt and an inch off the hip. Extra Virgin Olive oil is not only a healthier option but also an amazing taste enhancer. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for anyone to throw gallons of EVOO in the deep fryer and start throwing in chicken pieces. Like most oils EVOO even though a healthier option also needs to be consumed in moderation.

Shallow frying a bread crumbed breast in flavoured EVOO, or marinating your chicken with EVOO and spices is a delicious and much healthier alternative. The antioxidants in EVOO may help protect the body from cellular damage that can lead to a range of health conditions and diseases. EVOO has a bitter flavour, but it contains more antioxidants than other types, as it undergoes the least processing.

Food can be our biggest downfall when trying to live healthier lives, so its very important to maintain a balance. Dry unflavoured foods even though perceived as healthier are not always taste bud friendly. Healthy food does not need to be boring, here are a few EVOO fried chicken ideas that will have you asking for more;

CRUNCHY EVOO FRIED CHICKEN FINGERS.

Ingredients

2 cups roasted corn, crushed

1/4 cup Chia Seeds

1 tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 tablespoon Chili flakes

2 Eggs

2 cups EVOO

1-2 dashes Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Crush the corn nuts in a food processor. I like mine a little chunkier, but you can crush them into finer consistency if you would like. Once crushed, put in a shallow bowl and mix in chia seeds, garlic powder, and chili flakes. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oils to 350 F in a deep sauté pan.
  3. Whisk 2 eggs and set aside.
  4. Cut chicken breasts into strips.
  5. Dip each strip into egg and coat, then dip into corn nut mixture. Once all are coated in the mixture, place into heated oil and fry for about 4-5 minutes or until a nice golden brown. Enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce!

EXTRA CRISPY FRIED CHICKEN

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/4 cup freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced rosemary, plus 4 medium sprigs

1 1/2 tablespoons minced thyme, plus 4 sprigs

1 1/2 tablespoons minced sage, plus 4 sprigs

5 minced bay leaves, preferably fresh, plus 5 whole leaves

3 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 head, broken into cloves

Two whole chickens

1litre  buttermilk

1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco

1 teaspoon sugar

EVOO, for frying

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup rice flour

1/4 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup onion powder

Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°.
  2. In a bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons of the kosher salt with 2 tablespoons of the pepper, the olive oil and the minced rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaves and garlic. Rub the mixture all over the chickens and set them in a roasting pan. Roast for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thighs registers 150°. Let the chickens cool, then cut each into 10 pieces. (You should have 4 drumsticks, 4 thighs, 4 wings and 8 breast quarters.
  3. In a very large bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the hot sauce and sugar. Add the chicken pieces and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of olive oil to 375° with the rosemary, thyme and sage sprigs, the 5 whole bay leaves and the head of garlic. When the herbs are crispy and the garlic is golden, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the all-purpose and rice flours with the garlic and onion powders. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of kosher salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of pepper.
  6. Remove half of the chicken pieces from the buttermilk, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, patting it on lightly so it adheres. Fry the chicken over high heat, turning occasionally, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 160°, about 6 minutes for the breasts and 8 minutes for the wings, thighs and drumsticks. Transfer the fried chicken to a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Let the oil return to 375° before you coat and fry the remaining chicken. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter and garnish with the fried garlic and herbs. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve right away with lemon wedges.