8 pieces of chicken

1/2 gallon water

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/8 cup honey

6 bay leaves

1/2 head of garlic, cut horizontally

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/4 of a bunch of thyme sprigs

1/4 of a bunch of flat leafed parsley sprigs

Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons

3 cups all purpose flour

1/8 cup garlic powder

1/8  cup onion powder

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons cayenne

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups buttermilk

Peanut oil for deep-frying

Kosher salt

Thyme and flat leaf parsley for garnishing

For the brine: Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using.

Place the chicken in the cold brine and refrigerate overnight or for up to 12 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat the chicken dry, removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin. Let the chicken come to room temperature outside of the fridge, one and a half hours to two hours.

Mix the coating ingredients together in a bowl, transfer half to a second bowl and set up a dipping station: chicken, coating, buttermilk, second bowl of coating, tray.

Bring the oil to 320˚F in a pot deep enough so the oil does not come up more than one-third of the way. You want two inches of oil in the pot.

Just before frying, dip each piece of chicken into the coating, patting off the excess, then into the buttermilk and back into the coating. Place the chicken on a tray.

When the oil has reached the proper temperature, carefully lower the pieces of chicken into the oil. The temperature of the oil will decrease, so adjust the heat as necessary to bring the oil to proper temperature. Fry for about 13 minutes, to a deep golden brown, cooked throughout and very crisp. Remove the chicken to a tray lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes to cool slightly.

While the chicken rests, add the herb sprigs to the hot oil and let them cook and crisp for a few minutes. Arrange the chicken on the serving platter and garnish with the fried herb sprigs.

Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc Restaurant