The dish ‘Chicken and Waffles’ is popping up on menus all over the country. If you’re familiar with Los Angeles, then you undoubtedly know of Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, who pioneered this savory and sweet combination with their famous restaurant chain throughout Southern California. Chrystal and I are always looking for new bite-sized treats to serve up at food gatherings. It was my mission to create an original appetizer-friendly dish featuring one of Alexia’s wonderful frozen products. I have always been drawn to their Seasoned Waffle Cut Fries. Regular fries are awesome, but there’s something about waffle cut ones that take french fries to a special level. That’s when genius struck! I connected the “waffle” in waffle fries with fried chicken; and thus, this fried chicken and “waffles” dish was born.
The dish is a simple crostini. The “chicken” part of the dish is made up of savory, bite-sized fried chicken nuggets. The “waffles,” or the waffle fries, serve as a crispy bread that holds it all together. Then sweetness is added in with a spicy aioli that blends maple syrup and sriracha hot sauce. Plus, a sweet pickled slaw tops the whole thing for a smooth finish.
Let’s be real, you can’t really mess up fried chicken. Take any piece of chicken coated in a delicious breading and then fry it, chances are it’s going to taste pretty good. There are some tips and tricks, though, that we’ve gathered throughout our years to help elevate your “pretty good” to pretty great! First, the secret to exceptional fried chicken is to brine the chicken beforehand, ensuring it remains moist and flavorful to the very end. A while back I saw a blog post from Hilah Cooking, who recreated Chick-fil-a’s signature chicken sandwich. I thought it was interesting how she used pickle juice as a brine. I’ve always wanted to try this for myself, knowing I would add in the usual array of picking spices to my own brine anyhow–mustard seeds, bay leaves, herbs, coriander, etc. I used juice from dill pickles because that’s what I already had on hand, but any variety of pickle juice will do the job.
The next helpful hint I’ve learned is to use vegetable shortening as the fat to fry the bird, such as Crisco. I’ve always reached from general vegetable oil for all my frying needs, but my aunt–who’s pretty old-school–always used shortening when she fried chicken. In addition to the flavor and texture of the breading, she swore shortening didn’t pop and splatter as much as other frying oils while cooking. Of course, I can’t really verify the scientific basis for her assertion, but I’ve never questioned her advice. If you decide to use shortening, just be aware it has a lower smoking point than other cooking oils, like peanut, corn, or vegetable. Be sure to have your cooking thermometer handy to keep the temperature right at 325. Additionally, most commercial brands of shortening are processed in a way that allows them to serve as better frying agents.
Of course, all of this is certainly up to debate and personal taste. Grandma never touched a brine, and somehow nothing seems to top her version of fried chicken. There’s even have a fried chicken recipe on the blog that is prepared in a completely different way, and our friends still reminisce about our Herbed Fried Chicken.
We’d love to hear your own fried chicken insights. Leave a comment below with your own tips, experiences, hints, or musings on all things fried chicken. In the meantime, you can check out more Alexia news and info on Facebook. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we are Alexia Foods Tastemakers. You’re invite you to join the Alexia Foods Ambassadors Program yourself. Use points to score rewards and coupons so you can try out new products–their Waffle Cut Sweet Potato Seasoned Fries would also work great in this recipe. Give it a whirl!
Fried Chicken & “Waffles” Crostinis – Serves 4-6
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 2 inch nuggets
1 cup pickle juice
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, plus more for garnish
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoning salt, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1 cup vegetable shortening for frying, such as Crisco®
1 package Alexia® Seasoned Waffle Cut Fries
2 cups cabbage, shredded fine
2 cups red cabbage, shredded fine
2 medium carrots, shavings
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
Maple Sriracha Aioli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup mayo
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Dash of salt
1. In a medium glass jar, add chicken pieces with pickle juice. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Meanwhile, make the slaw and aioli.
2. For the slaw, rinse both kinds of cabbage. While cabbage is still wet, place in a large, glass mixing bowl. Add carrot shavings, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and caraway seeds. Toss together with your hands, or a fork, until well combined and the sugar begins to dissolve. Pour in red wine vinegar and continue to mix until sugar is fully dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight.
3. For the aioli: place all ingredients in a tall, narrow cup. Process with an immersion blender until well combined, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
4. 20 minutes before cooking the chicken, pre-heat oven and cook waffle fries according to package instructions.
As fries are cooking and the chicken is ready, add flour and seasonings into a brown paper bag. Toss in brined chicken, shaking the bag for about a minute to evenly coat each chicken piece. Set bag aside. (Be sure to discard used pickle juice.)
5. In a cast-iron skillet heat the vegetable shortening over medium-high heat. When oil reaches to 325 degrees, cook chicken pieces in 2 to 3 batches until each piece is golden brown and fully cooked throughout, about 4-6 minutes on each side. Place cooked pieces on a plate lined with paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with more seasoning salt. Let sit for 2 minutes before serving.
6. Construct the crostinis by placing a cooked nugget onto of a waffle fry. Drizzle aioli over chicken, top with drained slaw, and garnish with fresh tarragon. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: We are part of the Alexia Foods Tastemaker Program and received samples and compensation for participation. All opinions given are our own.
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