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Photo: Con Poulos

Fried Chicken Tacos

"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."

Food & Wine MAY 2011

  • Yield: 4
  • Total:35 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 (about 5 ounces each) large boneless chicken thighs with skin, 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
  • pinch of Large cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Warm corn tortillas, for serving

Preparation

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.

Note: 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.
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Fried Chicken Tacos recipe

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