Crunch and fizz – buttermilk brined fried chicken and Cava
Recently I received inspiration - not quite divine, but close - to cook homemade fried chicken in my very own West Orange kitchen. Now, this lady has barely deep fried in her life, so it was all or nothing tonight at home on my range.
I got ready for a messy (five prep bowls and lots of scattered flour) night of cooking, and I carefully followed the recipe for buttermilk-brined fried chicken. A dozen organic chicken legs were battered and coated in seasoned flour. A couple inches of oil was heating up in my dutch oven. And a just-bought bottle of Cava was cooling down in my freezer.
It occurred to me recently that Cava, with its delicious fizz and lovely acidity, was a great beverage to wash down the crunchy goodness of fried chicken. I was drinking solo tonight, so frugality pressed me to discover the best, least expensive Cava I could find. I'm fortunate to have a well-stocked wine shop right down the road, and I found the inexpensive yet quite satisfying Conde de Caralt, a traditional method bubbly for under $10 - now there's a feat that's hard to match, as most cheap bubbles have CO2 added to the tank. Fried chicken is one of the least pretentious foods, and this good quality Cava is a great match, both on the palate and in the pocketbook.
As it turns out, frying is messy but it's not that hard. Bake a pan of cornbread, steam some asparagus, and you've got a dinner to look forward to. My dining companion declared it "marvelous." At 14, she was a bit young for the Cava, so she would have to wait to learn how delicious it all was washed down with some of Catalonia's magic bubbles.