Tested and Perfected by Food and Wine
Fried Chicken Tacos. Photo © Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

Fried Chicken Tacos

  • TOTAL TIME: 35 MIN plus 2 hr marinating
  • SERVINGS: 4
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

"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."

video Video: Watch Andrew Zimmern Make Chicken Tacos

  1. 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  2. Kosher salt
  3. 4 large boneless chicken thighs with skin (about 5 ounces each), pounded 1/3 inch thick
  4. 1/2 pound tomatillos—husked and quartered
  5. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  6. 2 serrano chiles or 1 large jalapeño with seeds, chopped
  7. 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  8. 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
  9. 1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  10. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  11. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  12. Large pinch of cayenne pepper
  13. Vegetable oil, for frying
  14. Warm corn tortillas, for serving
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour with the pepper, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  4. 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.
  5. Cut the chicken into thin strips and serve with the tomatillo salsa and warm corn tortillas.
Notes Zimmern likes trimming away some of the chicken thigh so there's as much crispy skin as there is meat. If you opt to do the same, fry the chicken for 3 minutes per side.

Suggested Pairing

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.