Who cooks and eats here: Patrick Melroy and Courtney Jane Miller
See their kitchen: Patrick and Courtney's Tiny, Sunny Kitchen
Where: Santa Barbara, CA
Rent or Own? Rent
Patrick's signature dish is fried chicken. He learned from a fried chicken master, his mother. When he announces this special item will be on the menu, friends come out of the woodwork to get in on this decadent treat! Find out how Patrick rocks the fried chicken, with five key tips for a delicious result.
Patrick's 5 Tips for the Best Fried Chicken
- Buy the best chicken you can afford. Wings are a real crowd pleaser, and they cook evenly and at the same rate. Everything needs to be fully thawed if you're pulling it from the freezer — don't try to fry chicken that's even a tad frozen.
- When you're tossing your chicken in flour, make sure it is seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper. When you think you have enough salt, add more. A lot of the salt melts off in the oil, so don't be shy.
- Don't let the oil get too hot. Look for smoke and you know it's ready. You can further confirm this by shaking a little flour into the oil and seeing if it sizzles, then you're set to go. If you happen to be wearing a swimsuit and it's a hot summer day, and your bare skin gets spattered a tiny bit, this is also a good indication the oil's ready. If the oil is burning too hot, just turn the temperature down. It's a very flexible thing.
- Use two sets of tongs. It makes life so much easier. One for the raw chicken and flour mixture and the other for when the chicken is brown and ready to come out of the fryer.
- If you want spicy wings, combine 1 part hot sauce with 1 part butter. Heat the two together on the stove in a small pot and dip the finished fried chicken into this glorious mixture. To serve, place wings on a bed of arugula.
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(Image credits: Leela Cyd)