This recipe is adapted from chef Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home” cookbook!
For The Brine:
3 lemons, halved
6 fresh bay leaves
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
1/4 cup clover honey
1/2 head garlic (halved horizontally)
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 cup coarse salt
For The Chicken:
1 (2 1/4 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, and 2 wings)
Peanut or canola oil, for frying
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
Sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish
Sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish
Cheesy Polenta Waffles
Pure maple syrup
Make the brine: Place all brine ingredients in a large saucepan and add 16 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil until salt is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Cover and transfer to refrigerator until chilled, up to 3 days.
Make the chicken: Place chicken pieces in chilled brine. Cover and transfer to refrigerator for 12 hours.
Remove chicken from brine and rinse under cold running water; remove any herbs or spices sticking to skin. Pat dry with paper towels and let stand at room temperature until chicken comes to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours.
Fill a large, deep pot 2 inches high with oil. Place over medium-high heat; heat until oil reaches 320 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet; line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Divide evenly between two large bowls. Add buttermilk to a third large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken pieces first in flour mixture, then in buttermilk, and finally in second bowl of flour mixture; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.
Carefully add legs and thighs to hot oil; cook, turning and monitoring oil temperature, until deep golden brown, 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to prepared rack skin-side up; season with sea salt. Increase oil temperature to 340 degrees. Add wings and breast pieces to hot oil; cook, turning and monitoring oil temperature, until deep golden brown, 6 minutes for the wings, 7 minutes for the breast pieces. Transfer to prepared rack and sprinkle with sea salt.
Remove oil from heat and immediately add rosemary and thyme sprigs; cook until crisp, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve chicken with Cheesy Polenta Waffles and maple syrup. Garnish with fried herbs.
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