Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini has practiced his culinary artistry in places as diverse as his native Ohio, New York City, Italy, France and England.
And, in "THE Dish" on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Carmellini shared the recipe for his ultimate dish: his Fried Chicken with Sides.
What is it about American food that inspires Carmellini?
"When I think about American food, I think about the road, because that's how I grew up - and that's how I learned first-hand about American cooking," he says on his website. "From childhood family road trips between Ohio and Florida (full of Southern grub and citrus straight from the trees); cross-country hauls in search of the Great American Breakfast; and five-meal-a-day swings through barbeque country, I've been horizon-bound from behind a dashboard for most of my life. In big cities, I've eaten through local cuisines from around the world in a single day thinking, this is what makes America awesome."
Carmellini has received James Beard Awards, a Food & Wine Best New Chef nod and a three-star review from The New York Times.
His other famous eatery, besides The Dutch in SoHo, is Locanda Verde in Robert De Niro's Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca.
Carmellini has also written two cookbooks with his wife, Gwen Hyman: "Urban Italian: True Stories and Simple Recipes from a Life In Food" and "American Flavor."
On "THE Dish," a different famous chef each week reveals what he or she would have if they could have just one meal. That's because for us, "THE Dish" is about the moment, the place, and the person you would share it with. It's about the emotion behind the food, it's about the conversation and the meal itself. We want to get to know these chefs on a deeper level and hope our viewers do, as well.
FOR THE BUTTERMILK MARINADE
- 1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 2 chickens (2 pounds each-you don't want huge chickens for this), cut up into pieces
- 2 quarts corn oil
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground celery seed
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
TO MAKE THE BUTTERMILK MARINADE
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk together with the cayenne, Old Bay, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and honey. Put the chicken pieces in the mixing bowl and submerge them in the buttermilk marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put it in the fridge, and let the chicken marinate for at least 12 hours.
TO BREAD AND FRY THE CHICKEN
Pull the chicken out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature, still in the marinade (this will take about 45 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a deep pot or a deep-fryer over high heat. The oil should be 3 inches deep, and it should be so hot that it starts popping (about 350 degrees F). A good rule of thumb: if you drop a pinch of flour into the oil and it fries up immediately, you're good to go. While the oil is heating, combine the flour, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Old Bay, cayenne pepper, celery seed, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix things around with your hands so everything is distributed evenly. Pour half of the mixture into a small bowl and set it aside.
Add the flour to the large bowl and mix well. When the oil is hot, pull a piece of chicken out of the marinade. Put it right into the dredging flour bowl and heap flour on top of it; flip it around until the chicken is completely coated. Do the same with each piece until there's no more space in the bowl.
Pick up a piece of chicken, give it a light shake (just enough to get rid of the really loose bits of flour), and use your hands or a pair of tongs to drop it into the fry pot. Do the same with the rest of the chicken pieces. (You will definitely need to fry your chicken in batches, unless you've got some really big bowls and pots.)
Let the chicken fry for about 8 minutes, until it's golden brown. Pull the chicken pieces out of the fryer with tongs and put them on a rack set on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with the seasoning mixture, using the tongs to turn the piece so it's coated on all sides.
Put the baking sheet in the oven. The chicken pieces should rest in the oven for at least 10 minutes, so that the cooking process finishes. Meanwhile, fry up the next batch of chicken.
Hold the fried chicken in the oven until all the pieces are fried and rested and you're ready to serve it up. Then pile the chicken on a big plate, put it in the center of the table with biscuits, collards, and slaw, and let everybody start grabbing pieces. I guarantee it will disappear fast.
For more of Andrew's recipes, go to Page 2.