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Archive for March 3, 2016

FOOD FUN: Fried Chicken Sandwiches & New Combinations

Fried Chicken Sandwich

Chicken & Waffle Minis

Top: Trending now, the “gourmet” fried chicken sandwich. This one is from Shake Shack. Bottom: Hold the bun and do something special, like the fried chicken with micro corn muffins and honey butter (for the chicken, not the biscuits) at Honey Butter Fried Chicken | Chicago.

 

According to Flavor & The Menu, a trends magazine for chefs, a new wave of fried chicken is popping up from coast to coast.

Much of it is in the form of a gourmet fried chicken sandwich: brined, deftly seasoned, often with antibiotic-free chickens sourced from family farms. It’s a far cry from Chick-Fil-A.

“Gourmet” (our word) doesn’t refer to an elegant ambiance or fancy plating. Rather, it’s an approach to fried chicken that uses top ingredients, including interesting buns and condiments.

THE NEW TAKE ON FRIED CHICKEN

  • In Manhattan, food trendsetter David Chang has opened Fuku, with a focus on fried chicken sandwiches. For his Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich, chicken thighs are marinated in habanero purée, coated in buttermilk, dredged in a spice blend, fried, then placed inside a steamed potato roll with pickles and Fuku butter (butter spiked with fermented chickpeas).
  • For a limited time, Shake Shack, with multiple locations in New York and elsewhere, is offering Chick’n Shack, a crispy hormone-free, antibiotic-free, cage-free chicken breast sandwich with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk mayonnaise on a potato roll (top photo).
  • Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Chicago double-batters buttermilk fried chicken and tops the crispy skin with smoked paprika salt. The chicken is served with honey butter to slather on the chicken, as well as teeny corn muffin bits (second photo).
  • At The Crack Shack in San Diego, fried chicken is served with global-accented sauces such as harissa chimichurri and kimchi barbecue. The sandwich is served on a house-baked English muffin.
  • At Birds & Bubbles on New York’s Lower East Side, the Chicken & Egg Biscuit is marinated in buttermilk and served with deviled egg sauce and a dill pickle. You can also have Birdies In A Blanket, a re-imagined approach to chicken and waffles. The chicken is coated in waffle batter before frying. Out of the fryer, it’s then sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. (What, no maple syrup?)
  • At Arlen’s Chicken in Evanston, Illinois, a bucket of small pieces of fried chicken comes with either potato tots or crispy biscuits and a choice of three sauces: honey butter, Sriracha honey or Oh So Hot (which includes Scotch bonnets, ghost peppers and red finger chiles). The sandwich version starts with a toasted housemade biscuit, topped with cheddar cheese, a fried chicken thigh, sauce, bread-and-butter pickles, lettuce and tomato. With deference to fried chicken lovers who still want something good-for-you, you can have your chicken and sauce served atop a green salad.
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    Read the entire story at GetFlavor.com.

    Then, give some thought to your own perfect fried chicken sandwich or other “re-imagining.”

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Farinata, Chickpea Pancake Snacks

    Like pizza but not the gluten? Try farinata.

    Called by different names around the world, farinata is a thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe made of chickpea flour. Originating in Genoa, it become a popular food on the Ligurian coast, from Nice to Pisa.

    It’s not like a conventional, airy European pancake. Without leavening, it’s dense, and enjoyed not for breakfast but as a snack food, served hot.

    It is baked in bakeries and pizzerias on tinned copper pans the size of a large pizza pan. Triangular slices are sold and enjoyed as handheld snack, like a slice of pizza. They typically have a light seasoning or pepper and herbs. That’s tasty (think of plain foccaccia); but you Americanize yours with different toppings.
     
    TRADITIONAL COOKING METHOD

    Farinata is made by stirring chickpea flour into a mixture of water and olive oil to form a loose batter. At bakeries and pizzerias, the batter is baked in a wood-burning oven in a tin-plated baking pan. In its simplest form, farinata is seasoned with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.

    You can make farinata in your kitchen oven with skillets, as noted in the recipe below. We didn’t try it with a pizza pan, but we may do that next.
     
    REGIONAL VARIATIONS

    Variations of chickpea pancakes are found the world over. Some examples sourced from Wikipedia:

  • Algeria: Karantita are garnished with cumin and harissa.
  • Argentina and Uruguay: Fainá is often eaten on top of pizza (known as a caballo, on horseback).
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    Pine Nuts & Pepper Farinata

    Zucchini Farinata

    Top: with plenty of pepper, plus pine nuts and red onion at Vegan Lifestyle Associates. Bottom: Topped with zucchini and cut into wedges at AskGeorge.com. In the U.S., chickpea flour (garbanzo flour) is sold in many supermarkets and natural food stores, as well as in Indian and Middle Eastern markets.

  • Genoa: The birthplace of farinata goes for fainâ co i gianchetti, farinata with whitebait. Alternative toppings are onions or artichokes. Fainâ is local dialect. A variation is panissa/paniscia, a thicker batter like polenta. When cut into strips and fried, it is called called panissette.
  • Gibraltar: The pancake is called calentita when baked and panissa when fried. Considered Gibraltar’s national dishes, they are typically eaten without toppings.
  • India: The name varies by region based on the local word for chickpea. The batter of chickpea flour and water is cooked on an oiled skillet. Cabbage, green chiles, onions are added, along with different and herbs and spices.
  • Nice: Socca is a specialty in southeastern France. It is topped generously with black pepper.
  • Sardinia: La fainé genovese reflects the island’s historical ties with Genoa.
  • Savona: This seaport town near Genoa prefeers farinata bianca (white farinata), made with wheat flour instead of chickpea flour.
  • Tuscany: Cecina (“made of chickpeas”) or torta di ceci (chickpea pie) is baked and served plain.
  • Pisa and Livorno: The pancake is stuffed into small focaccia or between two slices of bread (similar to the Argentinian “en caballo”).
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    Pizza Oven Farinata

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/farinata puttanesca blossomNY 230sq

    Top: Farinata fresh from the pizza oven, from OnMilwaukee.com. Bottom: Turned into a puttanesca “crepe” at Blossom Restaurant | NYC. We found it easier to eat with the filling on top!

      RECIPE: FARINATA, CHICKPEA SNACK PANCAKES

    Here’s a recipe from Food and Wine for a lightly seasoned farinata. To turn the snack into lunch, top it like a mini pizza. We quickly steamed mushrooms, red onions and zucchini in the microwave with diced San Marzano tomatoes and baked it on top of the pancake, like pizza.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, passive time is 2 hours, baking time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
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    Preparation

    1. POUR the water into a bowl. Whisk in the chickpea flour slowly, until you have a smooth batter. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 500°F. Skim any foam off the top of the batter. Stir in the salt, rosemary and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. (Note that using a different oil, such as canola, gives the pancake a notably different taste.)

     
    3. HEAT two 10-inch cast-iron skillets in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of the oil to each skillet, swirling to coat. Divide the batter between the skillets; it should be less than 1/2 inch thick.

    4. BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp around the edges. Slide the farinata onto a board; cut into wedges. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
     
    MORE RECIPES

  • Farinata With Sage, Olives & Onion
  • Sage Farinata With A Side Of Olives & Feta
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