In this monthly series, I commit to cooking whatever is on the cover of Bon Appetit, Saveur or maybe some other food magazine. There’s a reason these particular dishes are on the cover – they’re usually the best recipes in the magazine.
The April issue of Bon Appetit had a huge, crunchy fried chicken sandwich on the cover. Now, I’m not normally a fan of fried chicken. In fact, I went through a weird phase where I just wouldn’t eat it. Under any circumstance. For awhile, when my family took our annual trip to Zehnder’s restaurant in Frankenmuth, MI (primarily famous for their fried chicken dinners), I would eschew the plate of fried chicken and order the roasted variety. Everybody thought I was crazy, and maybe I was.
Luckily, I’ve gotten over that aversion in the last few years. You still won’t find me frying up a big platter of fried chicken, Paula Deen-style, for Sunday dinner, but alas, I’m on a mission to “Cook The Cover” each month.
This recipe marked the first time since culinary school that I had ventured into the world of pickle-making. These homemade bread-and-butter pickles were awesome. And even though it was a 2-step process, they didn’t take more than 15 minutes total to make. They keep in the fridge for 2 weeks, so I made a big batch of them, and plan to put them on burgers and sandwiches galore.
The best part of this sandwich? By far, the amazing coleslaw. I used two kinds of cabbage (although just 1 type would be totally fine), red onion, jalapeno, and some of the pickles. The coolest thing? The only “dressing” used for this coleslaw is some of the pickle juice. It’s crunchy and sour, and probably the best coleslaw I’ve ever made.
I’m not going to lie: ultimately, this sandwich was a lot of work. The pickles were easy to make, the coleslaw was easy to make, and the chicken was easy to fry, but all of it added up, for a few sandwiches? Probably not an undertaking I’m going to take on too often. But, like last month’s “Cook The Cover,” these sandwiches kind of rocked my world. I also listened to my husband tell me about 27 times how much he liked them (when he really likes something, he doesn’t stop at just one compliment). I think in the future, I’ll use the coleslaw and put it on grilled chicken sandwiches. Summer time, and the grillins’ easy…
Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Pickle Coleslaw
For the Bread-and-Butter Pickles:
- 1-1/2 cups cold water
- 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/8-inch thick
- 1 jalapeno, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
For the Spicy Mayo:
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed with press or grated on microplane
- 3 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
For the Pickle Coleslaw:
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 3/4 small jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 1/4 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/4 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Bread-and-Butter Pickles, plus 3 tablespoons pickle juice
For the Fried Chicken:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half crosswise
- Canola oil, for frying
- 2 hamburger buns
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Bread-and-Butter Pickles DAY ONE: In large covered container, stir together water and salt until salt is dissolved. Add cucumbers; cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Bread-and-Butter Pickles DAY TWO: In medium saucepot, stir together jalapeno, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, turmeric and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil. Drain cucumbers from salt water; add cucumbers to saucepot. Return mixture to a boil; remove from heat. Let cool, then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until chilled.
- Make Spicy Mayo: In small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
- Make Pickle Coleslaw: In large bowl, toss together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
- Make Fried Chicken: In a shallow bowl, stir together flour, salt and pepper. Pour buttermilk into another shallow bowl. Dip each piece of chicken (both sides) in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in buttermilk, shaking off excess. Dip in flour again.
- Pour 1/2-inch oil in large, deep pot. Heat oil to 350 degrees F (use a deep fry thermometer). Place chicken in oil and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until deep golden brown. Transfer to paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Meanwhile, spray cut sides of buns with nonstick spray. In a large, dry skillet, toast buns over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.
- Spread buns with Spicy Mayo and assemble sandwiches using Fried Chicken and Pickle Coleslaw (you will have some extra coleslaw left over).
Adapted from Bon Appetit.