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Rainbow Kitchen

Fry in July – And Enjoy Some Cool Stuff on the Side

By Allison St. Claire
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Since you probably already have a favorite DFCC (Designated Favorite Chicken Cooker) who everyone counts on to supply their sumptuous bounty at the next big feed, let’s concentrate today on three terrific, healthy, delicious sides featured in Fried and True that you might want to bring to the table to wow the crowd.

It’s picnic season – and immediately visions of delicious fried chicken fill my mind – and soon, hopefully, my stomach.

Yes fried. Whether you’ve read it consistently here, or saw the cover story on such major mainstream media as Time magazine recently (“Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong,” by Bryan Walsh), you know the fat you fry in is not evil. Well, some of it is. Anything hydrogenated (read: Crisco), or with trans fat (read: margarine, butter substitutes) or probably rancid and containing far too much omega-6 (read: almost all plant -based oils like corn, soy or canola).

I personally love beef tallow and pork lard. The other night I tossed some lightly brined chicken (raw sugar, unprocessed sea salt, filtered water to cover) directly into a tallow I had just rendered, ignoring any breading or coating whatsoever (felt lazy). Delicious! The part of me that needs to stay low-carb chomped and cheered through both a huge thigh and drumstick – about twice what I would normally eat.

For those of you who love both coating and diversity in fried chicken, check out “Fried and True” by Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman. They feature 50 of what they consider America’s finest recipes for bringing out the best in the bird – from American originals to Southern favorites to Pacific Rim flavors. (Note, the restaurants that serve up these goodies use a variety of fats; the authors encourage you to use what you prefer or have on hand.)

Since you probably already have a favorite DFCC (Designated Favorite Chicken Cooker) who everyone counts on to supply their sumptuous bounty at the next big feed, let’s concentrate today on three terrific, healthy, delicious sides featured in Fried and True that you might want to bring to the table to wow the crowd.


 

Old-Fashioned Coleslaw

Serves 8. Served at Holeman & Finch, Atlanta Georgia

 

1 head (about 2-1/2 pound), thinly shredded green cabbage

2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

2 medium carrots, grated

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 scallions (white and green parts), chopped

1-1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Juice of 1 large lemon

6 tablespoons sugar

½ tsp celery seed

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the salt. Cover with cold water, cover the bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Drain the cabbage well, using a towel to squeeze out extra water. Combine the cabbage, carrots, red onion and scallions. In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, celery seed and cayenne pepper. Add the dressing to the vegetables and toss to coat. Season with s & p to taste.


 

Tomato Pie

Serves 8-10. From Mary Mac’s Tea Room, Atlanta, Georgia

 

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing

2 medium onions, very thinly slicedKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed by hand or in a food processor

2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes in juice

2 cups mayonnaise

1-1/2 cups (6 ox) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13 oval baking dish with oil.

In large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 8-9 minutes. Season generously with s & p. Scatter 1 cup cracker crumbs in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1 can tomatoes, juice included, over the crackers. Layer half the onions on top of the tomatoes; repeat with remaining can of tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle 1 cup cracker crumbs over the top onion layer.

In medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, Cheddar, Parmesan and basil. Spread over the top of the layers and top with remaining ½ cup cracker crumb. Bake until golden brown, 35-40 minutes.


 

Swiss Chard Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon

Serves 4. From Table 52, Chicago, Illinois. (Chef Art Smith was Oprah’s personal chef for many years.)

 

8 large Swiss chard leaves (about 3/4 pound), trimmed and thinly shredded crosswise

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup freshly grate Parmigiano-Reggiano, or more to taste

1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

In a medium bowl, toss the chard, oil and lemon juice. Add the cheese and pine nuts and toss to incorporate. Season with s & p to taste.


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Allison St. Claire loves to dream about, study, grow, play with, prepare and ultimately enjoy eating great food.

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