Some recent home cooking exploits. I had friends over to watch some football and figured I'd fry some chicken. My go-to for fried chicken has been Thomas Keller's recipe from his Ad Hoc restaurant/book. The kicker here is the brine. The chicken sits in a salty/lemon-herbal brine overnight before a buttermilk bath and fry, which creates a fried chicken that is super juicy, salty and full of flavor. A winner every time.
I've been a fan for a while now of drinking sparkling wine with fried food. With the fried chicken we popped this Petillant-Naturel from one of my favorite natural winemakers from France, Thierry Puzelat. Pet-Nats have gained in popular in recent years; they resemble Champagne, but with natural carbonation that is less assertive. There is a touch of residual sugar that actually matches up nicely with the fired chicken.
Trying to replicate that deliciousness, I followed the recipe in Michael Ruhlman's book, Charcuterie, a book that's been my primary reference for curing, smoking, and all things meat the past few years. The pastrami process begins with a 48 hour brine with spice mixture including coriander, allspice, bay leaves, and mustard seed.