This is what happened with today’s featured item, Hot Sauce Fried Chicken with Pickled Okra Slaw. Not my kind of thing, I mused as I’d flip by it time after time on my way to look up another selection. Pretty soon, however, everything else in my February 2012 issue of Southern Living got crossed off the “been-there-cooked-that” list. I kept studying the picture of the crispy golden chicken with its colorful side. Well, I do love coleslaw, I finally reckoned. Adding sliced pickled okra to the chopped cabbage sounded as though it was the most novel of proposals.
Ultimately I gave in. I’ll have to say that, to begin with, this was just a superb way to prepare fried chicken. Rolling the chicken breast first in the seasoned flour, then in the egg/hot sauce mixture, and then in the crushed saltine crackers with baking powder added made for a wonderfully crunchy crust that really adhered to the chicken. This was absolutely delicious either warm or cold. The next day I yanked a piece straight from the fridge and didn’t even give the first thought about microwaving it. Great chicken.
The slaw with the pickled okra truly was unique; the spicy-ness of the okra paired well with the chicken’s (hot-sauce-induced) tangy crust.
Hot Sauce Fried Chicken with Pickled Okra Slaw
6 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided (or salt substitute)
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
30 saltine crackers, crushed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/3 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 (16-ounce) package shredded coleslaw mix
1/2 cup sliced pickled okra
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento, drained
Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish. Stir together cracker crumbs, baking powder, and remaining 3/4 cup flour in a second shallow dish. In a third shallow dish whisk together eggs and hot sauce. Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture. Press to adhere all to chicken. Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; heat to 360 degrees. Fry half of chicken 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and done. Repeat procedure with remaining half of chicken. Stir together sour cream, sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss together coleslaw mix, pickled okra, diced pimiento, and sour-cream mixture. As you serve, drizzle additional hot sauce around chicken and slaw. Makes 6 servings.