Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fried Chicken

Alright dear readers, time to get to know one another a little better. I like fried chicken. Yes, I am still in the field of nutrition and I still like kale, but I will never swear off crispy poultry. Here's what gets me about the health gurus who would scowl at this confession: in general they need to work on keeping it real.
I agree that our food supply is greatly. . .no, dangerously tainted by the food industry. I oppose factory farming. I do not like vegetables from thousands of miles away. I think eating liberal quantities of foods grown in good soil a grand idea. And I also think the term "health food" conjures up the wrong images. This may be because frozen food brands calling themselves "Healthy Choice" taste about the same as the box they are sold in, and are about as good for you.
Or because mainstream junk food brands want you to think life is full of deprivation when seeking a healthy diet. I also think overly-health obsessed individuals would like us to think they are stronger than the rest of the population; some sort of super human who never falls victim to any cravings what-so-ever while their fantasies about pints of Ben and Jerry's would be enough to make most of us blush. Granted, they may not indulge, and rarely do I, but it's not because I am better than everyone else. It's because I truly understand the satisfaction of real food, not the overly sensationalized brief moment alone with a sleeve of Oreos. I can think past the affair and know how it will make me feel. Like crap.

How is it then that I can "get away" with eating fried chicken and still consider myself healthy? Or butter for that matter? Or pastured pork?
The answer is quality. When I make fried chicken (which in truth is pretty rare), I crisp free-range fillets in organic coconut oil. Stable at high temperatures (unlike the vegetable and seed oils used commercially for frying), and containing lauric acid, a antibacterial-antimicrobial property also present in breast milk, coconut oil is satisfying and nothing to feel bad about, a very different beast than the fried chicken at your local greasy-spoon. In fact, I think so highly of coconut oil, I try and incorporate it into my weekly diet on purpose to gain its many benefits. It's true.

So while we all strive to eat as healthy as we are able, I'd like to remind everyone that such a quest in actuality is more satisfying than a million pints of Haggen-Dazs stacked to heaven on a spoon. Quality food, even including occasional quality fried chicken, satisfies a true desire without compromising the vessel that houses our souls.
My advice: Eat well. Make some fried chicken. And keep it real (in every sense).

Fried Chicken:
*7-10 free-range chicken tender fillets, pounded thin
*refined coconut oil for frying (amounts will vary)
*1 egg
*splash of water
*1 cup natural panko bread crumbs or bread crumbs of your choice
*1 cup fine ground cornmeal or white wheat flour
*sea salt
*fresh ground black pepper

Rinse chicken. Place on a piece of parchment paper in a row. Cover with another piece of parchment. Pound each fillet with a meat tenderizer or heavy spoon until thin.
Whisk egg in a bowl with a splash of water. Set aside.
Stir together the bread crumbs, flour, sea salt and pepper in a shallow dish.

Place a small cast iron pan over medium heat. Coat with ample coconut oil.
Dip each fillet into the egg mixture before dredging in bread crumb mixture, turning to coat each side. Place coated fillets in hot pan being careful not to crowd the pan. Work in batches. Allow chicken to brown before flipping. Add more coconut oil as needed.
Transfer to a lined sheet while repeating with remaining fillets.
Serve with homemade honey mustard sauce and a big green salad.


  1. I am seriously salivating right now!!

  2. I totally agree with you there Rachel. As long we are aware of what we eat once in a while an 'unhealthy bite' will not influence the rest. The best part for me is still the 'big green salad'.
    Your recipe for nettle quiche from a year agoo is fabulous.