The first step toward really great fried chicken: a really great brine. Consider a buttermilk brine a two-for-one deal: You get the salt of a brine, plus the great, tangy flavor of buttermilk. Add a few aromatics such as fresh herbs, lemon and garlic to bring in more flavors.

Let the chicken rest after you pull it from the brine. That way the salt can redistribute throughout the meat. You're also letting the meat come to room temperature, which is important so that the oil doesn't drop greatly when frying. Trust us, you don't want to put fridge-cold chicken parts into bubbling, hot oil.

Don't forget to salt again at the end. Fleur de sel adds a nice bit of extra salty crunch.

To learn more, read "Fry a Little Tenderness."