Friday, December 12, 2008

Ad Hoc - Can Thomas Keller Do Family Meals?

Yes, he definitely can. Thomas Keller does everything Food better than anyone else and his family meals restaurant ad hoc is another proof of this. The basic format, like it's fine dining siblings, is a prix fixe, single multi-course offering. ad hoc, however, is a $48 comfort food menu. The menu is based around several outstanding meals that vary by day of the week. The ad hoc fried chicken is already a cult favorite of home chefs and I will share the secret (brining the chicken in a very intense brine) and recipe with you:

Ingredients for Brine:
1 gallon cold water divided
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
8 large or 12 small bay leaves
1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
2 tablespoons black peppercorns not ground
3 large rosemary sprigs
1 small bunch of thyme
1 small bunch of parsley
Finely grated zest and juice of 2-3 lemons
1 brining bag, stockpot, or doubled plastic trashcan liners to be used for brining. Needs to hold bird(s) as well as allow fully submerging in one gallon brining liquid.

Combine 1 cup of water and all other ingredients including lemon rinds in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to combine all ingredients.

Remove from heat to cool and discard lemon rinds. To brining container add the birds (2 chickens cut into pieces, the 3 quarts of cold water, and then now cooled (can be fairly warm) contents of the saucepan. Make sure chicken is completely submerged. Refrigerate overnight - up to 18 hours.

After brining time is up drain and discard all liquid, wash off birds, get rid of any herbs, etc sticking to bird. Use paper towels to dry and then keep refrigerated for up to 8 hours till ready to Fry.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cups buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper or use a wire rack. Let sit for 20 minutes and then redredge the chicken in buttermilk and flour before frying.

In a very large pot or dutch oven, heat oil to 360°. Use enough oil to deep fry the chicken. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches until golden and crunchy and the internal temperature is 160°F/60°C (about 20 minutes).


Chicken should be at room temperature when you’re ready to cook.

This fried chicken is great hot, cold or room temperature.

Food and Wine Magazine has a good explanation of the above recipe and technique - also at their web site. search on Thomas Keller Lemon Brined Fried Chicken.

Ad Hoc on Urbanspoon

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