The New Flock: Four Fantastic Fried Chicken Dishes in Boston
For a city full of northerners, Bostonâ€™s no slouch at serving up a mean piece of fried chicken. Sure enough, itâ€™s been a banner year for battered-poultry aficionados, with the debut of four worthy exemplars of the crunchy, flour-dredged art form to add to the old â€śbucketâ€ť list. Here, we break them down according to provenance, prep, and plating.
Nashville-Style Hot Chicken, State Park
The latest fried-chicken entrant to the area comes from Hungry Motherâ€™s laid-back Kendall Square offshoot, which at press time was slated to open in mid-December. When planning the menu for the hangoutâ€”which will feature a pool table, shuffleboard, a jukebox, and a pinball machineâ€”chef Barry Maiden decided to focus on regional southern guilty pleasures of the cult-status variety. For local diners, this means a slew of sloppy-good, not-often-seen-in-Boston specialtiesâ€”like the Kentucky Hot Brown (a bubbling open-faced turkey, bacon, and cheese-sauce sandwich), the special-to-DC half-smoke (a smoked, griddled, and chili-slathered pork-and-beef sausage), and Memphis-style â€śbarbecue spaghettiâ€ť (spaghetti topped with a concoction of marinara, crispy pulled pork, and barbecue sauce). Of course, fried chicken comes into play here as wellâ€”in the form of Nashville-style hot chicken, a dish that layers chili-paste-slathered fried chicken between a slice of squishy white bread and a topper of cool, crunchy pickles. â€śItâ€™s invigorating when youâ€™re eating it,â€ť says Maiden, who fell for the dish when he lived in Nashville in the â€™90s. â€śItâ€™s spicy and hot, and you donâ€™t know why youâ€™re taking your next biteâ€”but you want to.â€ť
Maidenâ€™s chicken gets an herb-and-spice-infused milk-and-buttermilk brine, a layer of spice directly on the flesh, and a single coating of flour before being dunked in the deep fryer. Finally, itâ€™s smeared with a paste made from a smattering of spicy dried chili peppers (including, but not limited to, cayenne) and bourbon-barrel-smoked paprika.
House-made pain de mie bread and pickles.
Mini Chicken and Waffles, Saus
This September, the team behind this frites-and-waffle shop near Faneuil Hall expanded their menu with a roster of sandwiches and snack-friendly items like corn dogs, shrimp fritters, andâ€”you guessed itâ€”deep-fried poultry. â€śItâ€™s been my childhood fantasy, from the first time I went to KFC, to make fried chicken,â€ť says chef and co-owner Chin Kuo. â€śI think it fits what we doâ€”we are a fry shop, a comfort and guilty-pleasure type of place.â€ť
Kuo gives boneless chicken-breast strips a long bath in a salty brine of Narragansett lager and scallions, then coats them with a mix of panko bread crumbs, flour, cornstarch, granulated onion and garlic, and lots of white and black pepper.
A cornbread waffle, house barbecue sauce, and pickles.
Turkish-StyleÂ Fried Chicken, Sarma
Before she opened Somerville meze bar Sarma, chef-owner Cassie Piumaâ€”an admitted fried-chicken obsessiveâ€”knew she had to have a version on her menu. And after three long weeks of Râ€‰&â€‰D, she landed on a winning, spice-layered combination thatâ€™s now served to diners dim-sum style from roving platters.
Boneless Giannone chicken thighs (skin intact) are cured with salt and a dry-mustard-based spice blend, dunked in a buttermilk wash, dredged in a floury mix spiked with toasted sesame and nigella seeds, fried to a crisp, and finished with a sprinkle of dried green harissa.
A rĂ©moulade of tahini, yogurt, and pickles.
Fried-Chicken Sandwich, Cuttyâ€™s
To boost business last January, Cuttyâ€™s owners Rachel and Charles Kelsey decided to open up their Brookline Village sandwich shop one Sunday a month to serve fast-food-inspired chicken sandwiches. Fast-forward a year, and the couple now sells 500 of them to fans who line the block for each â€śSuper Cluckinâ€™ Sunday.â€ť
Each piece of Bell & Evans chicken breast is brined in buttermilk and double-crusted in seasoned flour for an ultra-craggy exterior.
Cabot sharp cheddar, Hellmannâ€™s mayo, house-made Maille Dijonâ€“based honey mustard, shaved sweet onion, and iceberg lettuce, all within the confines of a buttered-and-grilled Iggyâ€™s sesame-seed brioche bun.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2013/12/31/fried-chicken-boston/