Friday, January 22, 2010

Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich

If you happen to make it to San Francisco, a short trip across the bay brings you to Oakland. Oakland has a rich selection of restaurant choices, from amazing Ethiopian food to seriously good pizza to delicious spicy bbq. I could go on and on about the delicious things to eat in Berkeley and Oakland, but there are a few must-eat institutions, and Bakesale Betty's is one of them.

Is it the charm of eating on the sidewalk on an ironing board? Or when waiting in line (and the line is often LONG), the cheerful Betty's staff handing out cookies and lemon bars? Or when you first lay your eyes on an enormous chicken sandwich? Or better yet, you first sink your teeth into said chicken sandwich covered in cool coleslaw, and immediately a protective instinct washes over you so that if anyone so dares to even *think* about taking a bite of YOUR sandwich, they better think again or risk bodily harm? And did I mention that they taste even better the next day?

If you are not convinced enough to take a trip to Oakland, then lucky for you, the SF Chronicle posted a recipe a few years back for these beauties. Now you can have Betty at home! And you just might want to pull out your ironing board, you know, for the experience.

Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich
recipe originally posted on SF Gate
serves 4

You'll have some breading left over, even after dipping twice. This makes a hefty sandwich in all regards - you'll need two hands to eat it.

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 quart buttermilk
The vinaigrette
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
The coleslaw
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, cut in half and sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • 1/2 green cabbage, core and outer leaves removed, and very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
The breading
  • 1 pound all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt + more to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 Acme Bakery torpedo rolls, sliced lengthwise (or french sandwich rolls)
  1. Chicken: Season chicken breasts with kosher salt. Let sit at least 5 minutes. Fill a wide, shallow nonreactive bowl or casserole dish with buttermilk. Add the chicken and soak in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to overnight.
  2. For the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.
  3. For the coleslaw: Soak onions in red wine vinegar, and let sit at least 20 minutes. Remove onions and discard vinegar. Toss onions with jalapeno, parsley, cabbage and salt. Toss with vinaigrette until evenly coated.
  4. To fry chicken: Pour vegetable oil into a large stockpot. Do not fill up more than halfway, or the oil could splatter. Bring oil up to 365°F, using a digital thermometer/candy thermometer to monitor the heat. Prepare the the breading while waiting for oil to heat up.
  5. Breading: In a wide shallow bowl, mix flour, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pull a chicken breast out of the buttermilk one by one, letting excess drip off, and dredge completely in flour. To create a thick crust, place in buttermilk and dredge in flour a second time. Do not drain or shake off excess buttermilk or flour during the breading process.
  6. When the oil is at 365°F, carefully place chicken pieces into oil one by one. Let it cook for a minute before disturbing chicken, then help it "swim" in the oil with tongs, until it is evenly cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels. Season immediately with salt.
  7. For the sandwich: Place fried chicken breast on bottom of torpedo roll and top generously with coleslaw.

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