Crispy chicken with rosemary-lemon salt

Giada De Laurentiis

Serves: 4

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 (6-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • Zest of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Zest of 1/2 large lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal or instant polenta

For the salt: Heat 1/4-inch oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat (the oil is hot enough when a pinch of cornmeal sizzles when added to the pan). Add the rosemary sprig and fry for 30 seconds until crisp. Using tongs, remove the rosemary sprig and drain on paper towels. Remove the leaves and finely chop to yield 1 tablespoon. Place the rosemary, salt, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until combined. Set aside.

For the chicken: In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add the cornmeal and toss until the chicken is coated. Add 1/2 the chicken to the same skillet used to cook the rosemary and fry until golden and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Sprinkle with the rosemary-lemon salt and serve.

*Chef’s note: Mmm. As I heard Giada say making these on the Food Network: chicken nuggets for grownups. Their sophistication made me feel comfortable enough serving them to my grandparents when they came over for dinner, paired with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. I didn’t need nearly all the rosemary-lemon salt it made, and I think next time I would squeeze some more lemon juice over the chicken while it’s warm for more flavor and to help the salt adhere to the breading better. But, as you may find in later posts, I am a huge fan of both lemon and rosemary, so this one was a hit for me (and with my family!).


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