With everyone running around town in search of the best fried chicken sandwich (hello, Fuku and Chick'n Shack), we decided to take our favorite aspects of each one and create the ultimate Tasting Table version. Those components are a soft potato roll, untoasted to maintain its integrity, topped with a gochujang-laced special sauce, dill pickle chips, a crisp chicken breast and pickled vegetable slaw. Combing the sensations of crunchy, creamy, tangy, spicy, salty and sweet, we feel very confident this will be your new go-to sandwich recipe.
The buttermilk marinade not only tenderizes the chicken but allows the salt to penetrate the meat, resulting in a juicy and well-seasoned breast. When you fry the chicken, monitor the temperature of the oil. Since you are shallow-frying and using less oil, the temperature can get too hot very quickly. Maintaining 350 degrees is crucial to a golden crust and tender, cooked chicken.
To learn more, read "Frying Without Wings."
Fried Chicken Sandwich with Pickled Vegetable Slaw
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes, plus marinating time
For the Chicken:
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 garlic clove, minced
Four 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the Pickled Vegetable Slaw:
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage, divided
1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage, divided
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 serrano chile—stemmed, seeded and julienned
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1½ cups white wine vinegar
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon celery seeds
¼ cup mayo
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Special Sauce:
½ cup mayo
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chile paste
For the Sandwich:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups canola oil
4 potato rolls
1 cup dill pickle slices
1. Marinate the chicken: In a bowl, toss together the buttermilk, salt, garlic and chicken breasts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, make the pickled vegetable slaw: In a medium bowl, toss together ½ cup of red cabbage and ½ cup of green cabbage with the carrot, chile and red onion, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, coriander seeds and celery seeds to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the tossed vegetables. Let cool completely, then drain, discarding the pickling liquid. Toss the pickled vegetables with the remaining ½ cup of red cabbage, ½ cup of green cabbage, mayo and honey. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
3. Make the special sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, ketchup, Dijon and chile paste. Set aside.
4. Make the sandwich: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, smoked paprika and salt. In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, scraping off the majority of the liquid. One breast at a time, dredge in the flour mixture, coat in beaten egg, then return to the flour mixture for a second coating. Place each breast on a plate until ready to fry.
5. Line a plate with paper towels. In a high-sided 12-inch skillet, heat the canola oil to 350°. Panfry the chicken breasts, flipping once, until golden brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 165°, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain.
6. Spread the bottom half of the buns with the special sauce and layer with dill pickle slices. Top each with a piece of fried chicken, a pile of pickled slaw and the remaining bun tops. Serve immediately.