Corn starch has several culinary uses, such as thickening agent, binder and, in the case of fried chicken, an enhancement for breading that results in a light and flaky crust. Corn starch must be used in conjunction with all-purpose flour for optimal results – it contains too much fibrous starch to stand alone. A typical ratio uses 2 tablespoons of corn starch for every cup of all-purpose flour.
Fill a nonreactive container with a brining solution, such as 1/2 cup of kosher salt for every 2 quarts of cold water. Place the cut-up chicken pieces into the brining solution, cover and refrigerate for 10 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine and drain off the excess. Place the chicken in a container, cover completely with whole buttermilk and refrigerate for 8 hours. Drain the chicken on a wire rack placed over a sheet pan and discard the buttermilk.
Heat the deep fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the breading mixture in a large bowl; for every cup of all-purpose flour, use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Spread the seasoned flour in an even layer in a shallow dish.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. Fry the chicken in batches until each piece reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 F as measured by a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest portions. Drain the oil from the chicken by placing it on a plate lined with paper towels.
- "The Professional Chef 8th Edition"; The Culinary Institute of America; 2006
- Serious Eats: The Best Fried Chicken Recipe Ever?
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.