SAGE AND APPLE–BRINED FRIED CHICKEN

 

You will need :

½ cup kosher salt

2½ cups water

1 cup apple juice

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

½ cup fresh sage leaves, torn into pieces

½ teaspoon black peppercorns

4 cups ice

1 chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into 4 pieces

Canola oil, for frying

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cups all-purpose flour

Fresh sage leaves, for garnish

To make the brine, whisk together the kosher salt, water, apple juice, garlic, sage, and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cooking for about 10 minutes, or until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Let the brine sit until cooled and the ice is melted, about 10 minutes.

 

Place the chicken in a large zip-top bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove the chicken, rinse and dry the pieces with paper towels, and discard the brine. In a large heavy skillet, heat 1½ inches of canola oil over medium heat to 350°F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

 

Sprinkle chicken with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Dredge half of the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Fry, turning often, for 16 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Maintain a frying temperature of 320°F to 330°F. Drain the chicken on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

 

For garnish, fry a few fresh sage leaves in the hot oil after removing the last of the chicken. Fry for about 1 minute, or until crispy but still green. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the wire rack.