Because a Cabbage Salad is Only So Appetizing…

I’m sorry. I can only make a Napa cabbage salad with peanuts and cilantro but so appealing to a sweaty male who has just sprinted over a mile, done 60 pull-ups, and swung a heavy kettle bell 100 times, and then mowed the grass uphill using a reel mower (you know, the old school, thip-thip-thip-I-can-actually-hear-myself-think-while-mowing kind) and then traipsed into the house wondering what’s for dinner.

Sometimes, you just gotta reach into the back of the freezer and pull out those chicken drumsticks and get a little fry action on.

(And video taping yourself making fried chicken is considered normal in our world, too. Demanding that said sweaty male do the filming, however, is optional.)

In case you couldn’t read the text of the breading mixture or are in a place where you can’t listen to the audio of the video, here’s a recap:

Buttermilk Oven-Baked Fried Chicken

1. Soak the chicken (e.g., drumsticks) in buttermilk and let sit in the fridge at least 1 hour.

2. For the breading station, you’ll generously dip your buttermilk-soaked chicken pieces in spiced flour mixture, buttermilk, spiced flour mixture again. Spiced flour mixture = 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika.

3. Heat suitable frying oil in cast iron skillet with tall sides (I used safflower oil). When a piece of the breading mixture bubbles and rises to the top in the oil, it’s probably ready. Fry chicken in oil about 4 minutes per side. DON’T fill your pan with oil more than halfway up the sides of the pan and DON’T overcrowd the pan and DON’T walk away–it’s hot oil, for goodness sake. (But DO allow oil to come back up to temperature between fry batches).

4. Transfer fried chicken to 350F oven for 30-40 minutes longer, depending on size and type of chicken pieces. Don’t worry about it drying out. Remember the buttermilk you soaked the chicken in? Yeah, that makes it tender. And the fried crust keeps all the juices inside and happy.

Letting the chicken finish baking in the oven means that this chicken isn’t deep-fried, but a lot of people seem to like that–it feels lighter, healthier somehow, but still has that irresistible crunchy crust. Plus it gives you plenty of time to make the cabbage salad you had originally planned to make.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Peanuts and Cilantro (adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison)

– 1/4 head Napa cabbage, chopped fine
– large handful of leaf lettuce, chopped
– 1-2 green onions (or large spring onions), sliced thinly
– 1 carrot, grated or peeled into strips with vegetable peeler
– handful of cilantro, chopped
– 5-7 fresh mint leaves, chopped
– large handful thai basil, chopped (or substitute regular basil)
1. Sharpen your knife and use your biggest cutting board to chop everything up. Don’t worry about cleaning off the board every time you switch ingredients–it’s all going in the same place. You could even go a little crazy and make a whole chopped salad, chopping everything up together.

– 1/2 a jalapeno chile, seeded and finely diced
– 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
– 1/2 teaspoon sugar
– pinch of salt
– 2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (could probably also substitute regular peanut oil or even sesame oil)
2. This is your dressing. Whisk it together in a separate bowl.

3. Pour the dressing over your chopped veggies and toss together so everything is coated in the dressing. Add a big handful of roasted peanuts (chopped, if you wish) and toss about just before serving.

The salad is nice and crunchy and only slightly peanutty–definitely a fresh take on the traditional coleslaw. Oh, and when pieces of the chicken crust fall off into the salad, you’ve got an extra little crunch in there… All in all, it’s a very nice pairing.

And very satisfactory to my hungry, meat-craving man.

This is really not a very complicated meal to make. Maybe it’ll be a good weekend project for you? Have you ever made oven-baked/fried chicken? What would you have served sweaty man if you knew he’d need a little meat with his cabbage salad? Leave a comment to let us know.

(oh, and in case you hadn’t figured out by now, the sweaty male I so affectionately refer to in this post = Alex)


2 thoughts on “Because a Cabbage Salad is Only So Appetizing…

  1. Harris McGehee says:

    Don’t know if I can try it without a Yum Factor. And sweaty man deserves something delicious. I made this Cold Sesame Noodle dish last night and it would be great the next day after a hard day outside. Cold, creamy, spicy-as-you-like-it, yum factor 9+. Maybe with an egg for protein.

    Loved the video.

    • Jessalyn says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Harris! Your sesame noodles sound awesome. My mom makes something similar with grilled chicken.

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