Punchy rémoulade cuts through the richness of the crispy buttermilk fried chicken, which is served over a salad of pickled fennel and peaches in this recipe from Top Chef Season 16 winner Kelsey Barnard Clark. Seek out underripe, firmer peaches for the salad—they’ll hold up to the pickling best.
Stir together all rémoulade ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve, up to 3 days.
Place buttermilk in a large bowl; add chicken, and submerge in buttermilk. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.
Stir together flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk; discard buttermilk. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and place in an even layer on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
Place fennel and onion in a medium-size heatproof bowl; set aside. Bring 1 cup water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over high, whisking occasionally. Pour vinegar mixture over fennel mixture; let stand 10 minutes. Add peaches; toss gently to combine, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, discarding vinegar mixture.
To fry chicken, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a large Dutch oven; heat to 350°F over medium-high. Working in batches, carefully add chicken thighs to hot oil; fry until golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally and maintaining an oil temperature of 325°F. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet to drain; sprinkle evenly with salt to taste.
Spoon rémoulade onto 4 plates. Top with pickled peach-fennel salad and fried chicken. Garnish with fennel fronds.
Full-bodied California Chardonnay.