Martha's recipe for her perfect fried chicken, crisp and golden every time.
- 1½ tbsp coarse salt + 1 tsp extra
- 1 whole chicken (about 1.6-1.8kg), cut into 10 pieces
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tsp dried mustard
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups plain flour
- 1½ tbsp coarse yellow cornmeal (optional)
- safflower or canola oil, for frying
- flaky sea salt, for serving (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Brining time: overnight
Marinating time: 4 hours to overnight
Standing time: 1 hour
In a large bowl, stir together 10 cups of ice water and 1½ tablespoons coarse salt. Add chicken, submerging all pieces. Cover; let soak overnight in refrigerator.
In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, 3 teaspoons coarse salt, mustard and ½ teaspoon each cayenne and black pepper. Transfer chicken to marinade, submerging all pieces. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Let chicken stand at room temperature 1 hour. In a shallow dish, whisk together flour, cornmeal (if using), remaining 1 teaspoon each coarse salt and black pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon cayenne.
Heat a heavy pot filled halfway with oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 175°C (350°F). Remove chicken from marinade a few pieces at a time (do not shake off excess); dredge in flour mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet.
Fry chicken in batches until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part (avoiding bone) reads 71°C (160°F), 6 to 7 minutes for small pieces, 9 to 10 minutes for large. Adjust heat to maintain temperature between 171°C (340°F) and 175°C (350°F) during cooking. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet; season with sea salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.