Hey JDaters®

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to summer and what better way to start it off than with a crunchy piece of fried chicken? Summertime is all about relaxing and having fun, so take a break from the diet and enjoy. The fried chicken and potato salad can be made up to two days ahead of serving.

Fried Chicken

Serves 6

2 whole chickens cut into 6 pieces on the bone

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup rice flour (the secret ingredient!)

1 cup yellow corn meal

2 tablespoons dried thyme

3 tablespoons paprika

2 teaspoons cayenne powder (optional)

1 tablespoon mustard powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

3 egg whites + 3 tablespoons cold water-whisked

Oil for frying-Canola, peanut

Fresh lemon or lime juice (optional)

Salt and pepper

  1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken pieces. Season the chicken with salt and pepper as needed.
  2. Combine the flours and spices in a large flat dish. Whisk the egg whites and water together in a flat dish.
  3. Lightly dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture. Next, place the chicken pieces in the egg white mixture. Finally, place the chicken back in the flour mixture and allow it to sit in the flour for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Heat at least 2 inches of oil to 350. Use a thermometer and watch your temperature carefully. Overly hot oil will brown the chicken too quickly. Cold oil will make the chicken soggy and greasy. Fry the chicken in batches until it is browned and registers an internal temperature of 160 for the dark meat (about 12-15 minutes).

Place the chicken on grates to drain. Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice over the chicken for extra flavor. The fried chicken will keep covered in the refrigerator for several days.

Sweet Potato Salad with Tahini-Lemon Vinaigrette

Serves 6 plus leftovers

I don’t know why most folks only eat sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. I love them all year round. My favorite potato salad is bold with a tahini dressing instead of mayonnaise. The salad is modern, delicious and good for you-which totally makes up for the fried chicken!

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 12 ounces each)

1 small red onion, cut into small dice

1 small fennel bulb (save the fronds for garnish) cut into small dice

1 red pepper, roasted and cut into julienne

¼ cup golden raisins

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced thinly

Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 350

1. Roast the sweet potatoes in the pre heated oven until you just able to pierce them with a paring knife (about 1 hour). Do not over cook them or they will fall apart and be mushy-you want them to hold their shape. Cool the potatoes completely.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large 2 inch pieces. Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve. The salad can be made one day ahead of serving and can be stored, covered in the refrigerator.

For the vinaigrette

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons of tahini

2 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup water

Salt and freshly cracked pepper

1. Whisk all of the above ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Passion Fruit Mojitos

3 fresh mint sprigs

2 teaspoons of sugar

3 tablespoons passion fruit juice (I like the Ceres brand)

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 ½ ounces light rum

Splash of club soda 

1. Place the mint and sugar in a glass. Muddle the mint and sugar until the mint has broken up a bit and is very fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and enjoy. 

Laura Frankel is an Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and author of numerous kosher cookbooks including Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. To purchase her books, click here.
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