This is comfort food at its best. It does take a bit of time to prep, but it’s so satisfying. It comes from Alexa Weibel via NYTimes Cooking and goes well with fries, cole slaw, tots, or any other wonderfully decadent side. The pickle juice makes the chicken very tender when fried but that same pickle element is echoed on the slaw made for the topping, so if you wanted to dial back the saltiness you could adjust the slaw.
For x4 sandwiches you’ll need: x2 chicken breasts (cut in half to make x4 sandwich sized pieces), 1/2-1 cup pickle brine, 1/2 cup mayo, 3 Tbsp capers, 3/4 cup buttermilk, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 Tbsp onion powder, vegetable oil (for frying), 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 4 soft buns, 1-1/2 cup thinly slice cabbage, 1 shallot or red onion (thinly sliced), dill pickle coins (several needed for the slaw and for topping), salt and pepper.
Cut the chicken breasts in half into x4 sandwich sized pieces and place into a large, zip-lock type bag. Pour in the pickle brine and seal. Place into the fridge to marinade for 2-6 hours turning once or twice to ensure evenness.
Make the pickle mayo by combining the mayo, capers, 4-6 pickle coins (cut into small pieces), salt and pepper. Place into the fridge to chill.
In a wide shallow bowl combine the flour, corn starch, onion powder and good grinding of salt and pepper. In a second wide shallow bowl pour in the buttermilk.
Use one half of the pickle mayo to make the slaw by combining it with the shredded cabbage in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Place enough vegetable oil in a dutch oven so that it is about 2″ deep. Heat until shimmering.
Once the chicken is fully marinaded, remove it from the brine. First dip it into the buttermilk (allowing the excess liquid to run off) and then generously dredge it in the flour mixture – cover every nook and cranny. Place on a plate. Repeat this for the other pieces of chicken. Once all of the chicken has been floured, sprinkle a bit more over them to ensure all parts are fully covered. Turn them over and do the same to the other side.
Place the floured chicken, one at a time, into the heated oil. Adjust the flame so that the oil stays hot but not smoking – medium high (325 degrees). Turn the chicken with a slotted spoon or tongs serval times while frying and cook until golden brown and cooked through; 6-10 mins depending on the thickness of the chicken. The chicken should be 165 degrees if you want to check with a meat thermometer.
Once fully cooked carefully remove the fried chicken from the oil and place onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat the process with the other pieces of floured chicken.
In a separate skillet, melt the butter with just a little bit of the vegetable oil. Place the buns open faced down over medium heat and gently fry until golden. Repeat for the other buns.
Place each of the buns on a serving plate and cover the bottom half with the pickle mayo, add the fried chicken and then top with sliced onions, pickle coins and slaw.
It’s a messy but delicious meal.