I don't think I've had a lot of great fried chicken in my life. Strictly speaking, fried chicken is not a Michigan thing. I remember my mom taking us to KFC for "chicken littles" when I was a kid (anybody else remember these?) and that's just about the extent of my fried chicken experience.
When June's issue of Bon Appetit had a whole spread featuring fried chicken (with all the accoutrements), I figured that the time had come for me to make it myself. My cookingest girlfriend and I chopped up the chicken, swallowed our nerves, and heated up the oil.
It was awesome. Some of the pieces were a touch too spicy, but the general fried chicken-ness quality level was high. It was crispy, juicy inside, and the side dishes put out the fire in our mouths. The black-eyed pea salad was tart and vinegary and dead easy to make. Everyone needs a solid class coleslaw recipe up their sleeve. And then it was time for banana pudding.
Y'all (can I say y'all now? I made a Southern meal!), I was into the banana pudding. To make it, I bought my first-ever box of Nilla wafers. The boyfriend and I burn through about a dozen bananas a week, so obviously we're bonkers over the flavor. The dessert isn't difficult, and it was a nice, cooling end to our rich and spicy meal. As I said, I was into it. The boyfriend, however, went absolutely crazy for it.
The meringue darkened unevenly under the broiler, but as you know we don't judge a pudding by it's cover round these parts.
Within two days, the leftovers were gone. If you've got some time and a few cholesterol points to play with, check out these dishes and throw a fried chicken party.