Tucking SEAWEED into our dishes adds flavor, vitamins, and minerals to our food. It helps return our oceans to a state of abundance and fights the effects of climate change through carbon sequestration. Plus, it drives diversity, employs people in coastal communities, and supports women. In other words, eating seaweed is a win-win all around.
Our cooking needs to include at least 25% of this important workhorse ingredient so that our world can fully reap the benefits.
One fantastic way to incorporate it is in FRIED CHICKEN! This recipe turns an old Chef Thomas Keller classic into a modern dish that’s more than just a delicious meal, serving as a direct way we can support the future of our food systems.
All you have to do is infuse the salty, sweet brine with seaweed, then finish the dish off with a generous sprinkle of seaweed at the end!
Serves 8 (or 4 with leftovers for the next night, which is THE best!)
- 1 gallon cold water
- 1/2 cup plus enough for seasoning the fried chicken
- 1 cup honey
- 12 fresh California bay leaves
- 1 head of garlic, top cut off
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 3 large rosemary sprigs
- 1 small bunch of thyme
- 1 small bunch of parsley
- 1 cup wakame or dolce seaweed
- 6 lemons, zested, cut in half, and juiced
- Two 3-pound chickens, butchered to fry, with breasts cut in half crosswise
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup seaweed sprinkle of your choice
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Peanut oil, for frying
- Lemon wedges and additional seaweed sprinkles, for garnish
FOR THE BRINE:
- In a large pot, combine the water with 1 cup of salt plus the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and seaweed. Add the lemon zest and juice and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely.
- Add the chicken pieces, being sure they’re completely submerged, and refrigerate overnight.
FOR THE FRIED CHICKEN:
- Six hours before serving, drain the chicken and pat dry. Brush off any herbs or peppercorns. Place it on a wire rack with a cookie sheet lined with a paper towel underneath it, then return to the refrigerator, allowing the chicken to dry out, to make the skin crispier. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator one hour before frying.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and seaweed sprinkles.
- Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing, so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
- In a very large, deep skillet or fryer, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 330°.
- Fry the chicken in two or three batches over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and crunchy and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 160°, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain, and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining chicken pieces.
- Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the sprinkles of seaweed and lemon wedges.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
Want another kelp recipe that would be a fantastic side? Check out this Seaweed Coleslaw!