This tropically inspired dish elicits remarks rarely heard about fried chicken; for example, I’ve heard it called “refreshing,” “light,” and “delightful.” Brining the chicken in pineapple juice delivers a surprising burst of sweetness with each bite. It’s one of my favorite recipes in this book. SERVES 4 TO 6
1 chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces
4 cups canned pineapple juice
⅓ cup kosher salt
2½ teaspoons table salt
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 cup white rice flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
Coconut oil, for frying
Pineapple Salsa (recipe follows), for serving
Place the chicken pieces in a large zip-top bag.
For the brine, whisk together the pineapple juice and kosher salt. Pour over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg, ½ teaspoon of the table salt, and coconut milk, and in another bowl, the rice flour, all-purpose flour, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of the table salt.
In a large heavy skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat to 320°F. It should be 1 inch deep when melted. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
Working with half of the chicken at a time, remove the pieces from the brine and dredge in the flour mixture. Dip the chicken in the coconut milk mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge it again in the flour. Discard the brine.
Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Fry, turning often, for 25 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown and juices run clear. Maintain a frying temperature of 315°F. Drain the chicken on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
Serve with the salsa.