Buttermilk tenderises the chicken in this classy version of an all-American feast: fried chicken with cooked lettuce, sourdough croutons and creamy ranch dressing
For the marinated chicken
500g/1lb 2oz buttermilk
handful broken herb stalks such as coriander, parsley and tarragon
8 organic chicken thighs, skin removed but kept, boneless, halved, sinew removed
vegetable oil, for deep-fat frying
For the dredging flour
100g/3½oz gram (chickpea) flour
80g/2¾oz plain flour
5g celery salt
2g table salt
1.5g milled black pepper
4g mild paprika
4g garlic powder
8g onion powder
For the ranch dressing
200g/7oz soured cream
4g sherry vinegar
10g onion powder
6g garlic powder
1g milled black pepper
2g mixed dried parsley, dill and chives
For the salad
75g/2½oz unsalted butter
1 loaf sourdough bread, broken into small pieces
dash olive oil
2 heads Baby Gem, halved lengthways, any dark outer leaves discarded
2 tbsp chopped parsley
½ lemon, juice only
9 round radishes, cut in half with the leaves attached
Mix together the buttermilk, herb stalks and black pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces, mix well and leave overnight in the fridge, or at least for a minimum of two hours.
When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and the deep-fat fryer to 170C/340F (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Place the chicken skin on a sheet of baking parchment or silicone paper. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes until crisp.
For the dredging flour, mix all of the dredging flour ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
For the ranch dressing, mix all of the ranch ingredients together and set aside.
For the salad, heat a medium frying pan and add half of the butter. Once hot, add the bread and cook until crisp on all sides.
Heat a large frying pan and add a little olive oil and the remaining butter. Season and colour the lettuce cut-side down, before adding the chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and finally the croutons.
Drain the chicken pieces, dredge in the flour and then deep fry for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown and cooked through. Carefully remove using a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
To serve, spoon the ranch dressing into the centre of each plate, cut the Baby Gem into quarters, arrange on the plate with the chicken and radishes and spoon over the remaining croutons from the pan. Finish by breaking over the crispy chicken skins.
Source: BBC FOODS