The aesthetics of eating Fried Chicken dictate that one pick it up with ones hands, and that it be on the bone.
AHAHAHA! I knew something like this was coming!
1. And thou shalt putteth thy chicken wing in the flour and shake thrice. Thou shalt not shake once, nor twice, nor four times...
What I appreciate about Alton's way of cooking is how he approaches a problem. It's very similar to the way I solve quandaries. Act, assess, modify, act. I keep an open mind and don't limit my options. The only thing on my "no-no" list is using heavily processed ingredients as shortcuts. I like everything to be from scratch (I actually felt uneasy scooping refined crisco out into the pan... I would have preferred lard). I'm not afraid to mess-up, so it's part of the fun coming out with something that looks like a meteor and saying, "What the $%#@ happened?!"
I've been training myself with french techniques over the past few years, and I've definetly ingrained those techniques and thought processes into my approach to cooking. The other thing is that I've been cooking out of the CIA textbook which is really designed for commerical applications, so much of my planning/mise en place has started to revolve around "Ok, how do I prepare this so that it can be 90% finished and then expedited at will?". I try to ignore that little voice, but sometimes it sneaks back in...
Actually it's a great way to cook at home too, because it makes weekday meals extremely easy to whip out, and when entertaining I'm not going a mile a minute all evening in my kitchen.
Anyhoo, I'm rambling now. Gotta' break down that chicken and get it into the buttermilk for tomorrow...
I really appreciate all these opinions though. It really helps me with the whole process!
Oh - Alton Brown did graduate from The New England Culinary Institute, so he certainly does have real experience cooking in good commerical restaurants. It's a 2yr full-time program quite similar to the CIA's. Believe it or not it's actually even more expensive than the CIA with even smaller class-sizes from what I hear.
Seven S - I'm giving the deep fryer method a try tomorrow! I'm going to try both boneless and bone-in pieces, as well as buttermilk marinated and unmarinated pieces. If I don't like it I will be heading back to the big-ole Lodge skillet with Crisco/Lard.
jennyema - White sauce is definetly one of my favorites, both veloute and bechamel. I make thin versions for quick trashcan stews, medium viscosity versions for gravy, and thick versions for casserole bases. Often I blend the two using both stock and milk which provides a really rich flavor and mouthfeel. I believe I read somewhere that a real
bechamel is actually a veloute that is enriched with heavy cream, but that most restuarants just use all milk. Indeed I think both stock and milk used together yield the best result (personal opinion of course).