Fried Chicken Tacos
- TOTAL TIME: 35 MIN plus 2 hr marinating
- SERVINGS: 4
"Right in Tijuana's red-light district sits Kentucky Fried Buches, where cooks fry chicken necks, skin on, to fill soft corn tortillas. I can't stop eating them," says Andrew Zimmern. "At home, I fry skin-on chicken thighs until they're supercrisp, then eat them with avocado-tomatillo salsa, my family's favorite."
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt
- 4 large boneless chicken thighs with skin (about 5 ounces each), pounded 1/3 inch thick
- 1/2 pound tomatillos—husked and quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 serrano chiles or 1 large jalapeño with seeds, chopped
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- 1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Large pinch of cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Warm corn tortillas, for serving
- In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the lime juice with 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- In a food processor, combine the tomatillos, garlic, serranos, onion and cilantro and process to a coarse puree. Transfer the salsa to a bowl and stir in the avocado and the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Season with salt.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour with the pepper, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- In a large skillet, heat 1/3 inch of oil until shimmering. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Fry the chicken over moderately high heat until well-browned and crisp, about 3 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Cut the chicken into thin strips and serve with the tomatillo salsa and warm corn tortillas.
The fried chicken in these crispy tacos calls for a light-bodied red that can match the dish in richness, but that doesn't have too much tannin. Beaujolais from France is a great choice.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.