Tuscan Fried Chicken

Pollo fritto alla toscana (Tuscan Fried Chicken)

In secondi piatti, Toscana by Frank Fariello14 Comments

Is there anyone who doesn’t like fried chicken? Nice and crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside… I can get hungry just thinking about it! Tuscan Fried Chicken is a particularly savory and simple version of this classic international dish.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

  • 1 young frying chicken
  • Flour, q.b.
  • 3 eggs, beaten, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, q.b.
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Directions

Cut up the young frying chicken (called a pollo novello in Italian) into pieces, making sure to cut the breasts in half and split the thighs from the drumsticks. If you like, you can bone the pieces, which is relatively easy to do when the chicken is cut up.

Dredge the pieces lightly in the flour, then in beaten egg and shallow-fry them in olive oil over moderate heat. As for any fried chicken, the oil should be hot but not too hot, so it doesn’t brown on the outside before it cooks on the inside (see Notes).

When the chicken pieces are nice and golden brown, remove them to a platter. Season them with salt and serve your Tuscan Fried Chicken right away, with lemon wedges if you like.

And that’s all there is to the basic recipe! It could hardly be simpler.

Notes

Of course, this kind of simplicity relies on the best quality ingredients for success. The chicken, in particular, needs to have great flavor. Modern chickens, as we all know, can be pretty flavorless, so if you’re not working with a fine, organic free-range chicken you are confident about, although it is not part of the original recipe, you may want to marinate the chicken beforehand. My favorite marinade for chicken includes salt, pepper, a finely chopped garlic clove, chopped fresh rosemary, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a good splash of olive oil. Leave for an hour or so before proceeding with the frying.

You can use pre-cut chicken pieces, of course, which saves time. This time, I happened to have some chicken ‘tenders’ (cut up and boned chicken thighs) on hand, and they worked very well indeed.

The main alternative to this version of Tuscan fried chicken is to substitute a pre-made batter for the usual flour and egg. The batter is made with flour, salt, olive oil and egg, then thinned out with some white wine. It needs to rest for an hour or two before using. You can also add some seasoning to the beaten egg, some grated cheese, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, although these additions are definitely heterodox. In fact, many traditional recipes admonish you not even to add salt to the egg, but to salt the chicken when serving, to keep the batter crisp and the tastes ‘clean’, in true Tuscan style.

In Italy, fried chicken is typically accompanied by fried vegetables appropriate to the season. For this meal, some nice fried zucchine ‘sticks’, dipped in the same flour and egg, went very nicely. And you can add to that other fried meats, typically chicken and calves’ brains, for a fritto misto.

As mentioned, the trick to making Tuscan Fried Chicken lies in maintaining the oil at the right temperature while you fry. If the oil is too hot and the chicken will brown before it is fully cooked inside; if it is not hot enough, the chicken will turn out a greasy mess. Keep your flame moderate, adjusting it up or down as needed while the chicken fries so that the oil bubbles up around the chicken pieces in a lively but not furious manner. If you have any doubts about the chicken being fully cooked, you can pop them in a hot oven for a few minutes as well—which you should do anyway to keep the chicken warm if you need to fry in batches, or to keep the chicken hot while you enjoy your first course. I find a rack is perfect for the task; it allows the hot oven air to circulate around the chicken pieces, ensuring they stay nice and crispy.

Pollo fritto alla toscana (Tuscan Fried Chicken)

Tuscan Fried Chicken is, in fact, very similar to—albeit a bit more austere than—the Jewish-style fried chicken for Hannukah that I blogged about back in December.

Pollo fritto alla toscana (Tuscan-Style Fried Chicken)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Pollo fritto alla toscana (Tuscan-Style Fried Chicken)

Ingredients

  • 1 young frying chicken
  • Flour, q.b.
  • 3 eggs, beaten, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, q.b.
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut up the young frying chicken (called a pollo novello in Italian) into pieces, making sure to cut the breasts in half and split the thighs from the drumsticks. If you like, you can bone the pieces, which is relatively easy to do when the chicken is cut up.
  2. Dredge the pieces lightly in the flour, then in beaten egg and shallow-fry them in olive oil over moderate heat. As for any fried chicken, the oil should be hot but not too hot, so it doesn't brown on the outside before it cooks on the inside.
  3. When the chicken pieces are nice and golden brown, remove them to a platter, season them with salt and serve them right away, with lemon wedges if you like.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://memoriediangelina.com/2010/08/22/pollo-fritto-alla-toscana/
Frank FarielloPollo fritto alla toscana (Tuscan Fried Chicken)

Comments

  1. Steve

    Great chicken, I’ve made this a couple of times now and it is delicious! Sometimes I throw a couple of thick lemon slices into the frying oil, adds a nice flavor.

  2. Frank

    Thanks, folks, for the lovely remarks. Fried chicken is everyone's favorite, isn't it?

    @Chiara: thanks for the link. You've got a wonderful blog–it's on my blogroll now!

  3. Drick

    nothing better than fried chicken – and I agree with having to marinate or season today's 'store bought' chicken

  4. Kate

    I just finished a plate of Annie's Eats Chicken with Artichoke Hearts and Mushrooms and I'm stuffed. But, you know, I think I'd find room for a piece of that chicken! kateiscooking

  5. Jean

    Fried chicken is always good but I never make it at home. I'll just have to drool over this delicious plate. And yes, lots of lemon wedges on the side, please!

Leave a Comment