Southern-style crispy chicken salad with buttermilk dressing:
2 baby cos (romaine) lettuces, leaves separated
2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced and fronds reserved
2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
1 Granny Smith (green) apple, thinly sliced
200 grams blue cheese, sliced
1 x quantity buttermilk fried chicken (see basic recipe), sliced
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup natural Greek-style (thick) yoghurt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Buttermilk fried chicken:
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
8 x 125 grams chicken thigh fillets, trimmed
2 cups buttermilk
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes, plus extra to serve
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
To make buttermilk fried chicken:
Place the paprika and fennel seeds in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Add the buttermilk, mix to combine and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with oil and place over medium heat until the temperature reaches 180°C (350°F) on a deep-frying thermometer.
While the oil is heating, place the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper on a large tray and toss to combine.
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture, allowing any excess liquid to drip off. Place on the tray with the flour mixture and toss to coat evenly.
Deep-fry the chicken, in batches, for 5–6 minutes or until crisp, golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel and keep warm. Sprinkle with extra salt to serve. Serves 4–6
You can also combine the flour mixture in a large zip-lock plastic bag. Seal and shake to coat the chicken. To keep the chicken warm before serving, place it on a baking tray in an oven preheated to 140°C (275°F).
To make the buttermilk dressing, place the buttermilk, yoghurt, mustard, vinegar, lemon rind, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Arrange the lettuce, fennel, fennel fronds, cucumber, apple, cheese and chicken in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing to serve. Serves 4
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