With all the hullabaloo over Popeye's Chicken Sandwich, I had to make one myself. In my opinion, the secret for ANY fried food to achieve ultimate crunch factor is some Panko in the breading. As Chef Sean Brock says, when you bread something, it has to be breaded well enough, it won't lose its crust if you drop kicked it across the parking lot.
Ingredients:(for one sammich)
1 Brioche Bun
1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken thigh
3 oz milk
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch paprika
1 pinch brown sugar
Salt and Pepper
2 oz AP flour, seasoned
1 egg + 1 tbl reserved marinade
2 oz panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Oil for frying
3 leaves butter lettuce
3 spicy bread and butter pickle slices
1/2 heirloom tomato, sliced
1/6 Red onion, sliced
1 Tbl mayonaise
Hot Sauce (to taste)
Garlic (to taste)
First: Marinate your chicken. Mix milk, seasonings, and hot sauce. Submerge chicken thighs and let sit for between 2 and 8 hours(overnight is fine too).
When ready, heat your oil. Once your chicken has absorbed all the flavor, save 1 oz of the liquid. Remove the chicken. Whisk egg into half of the reserved marinade. (The other tablespoon is a backup if you need to double bread.)
Then: With the chicken still damp, dredge in seasoned flour. Then dip into egg mixture. And dredge in panko. Fry chicken until golden brown and crispy. Check internal temperature, ideal is 160°F(it will carry over to fully cook). If you're worried about food safety, make sure your chicken is 165°F. If you're satisfied with the color of your breading, but the chicken has not come up to temperature, finish in a 350°F oven.
For the sandwich assembly:
Split your buttery brioche bun in half with a Forge To Table Bread Knife. Toast it or live with your sad room temperature bread and disappoint your mother.
With your Forge To Table chef knife, mince garlic. Mix minced garlic and hot sauce with mayo for great a great schmear.
Then slice onion and tomato.
Schmear aioli onto toasted bun. From the bottom up, add red onion slices, pickled, lettuce, then tomato. Add chicken thigh, hot from the oven. Top with top bun and enjoy!