Last NYE, we started a new tradition and rang in 2021 with some glorious Publix fried chicken (if you know, you know!).
Their version has this just-peppery-enough, ultra-crispy coating with juicy, perfectly seasoned chicken hidden below... and sinking your teeth into it has to be one of the most fun ways to close out the year and usher in a new one!
Since I plan to stick with the tradition, I thought we should try to replicate those crisply shattering shards on perfectly poppable chicken nuggets that you can make at home in case you don’t have a Publix nearby!
Extra credit: If you have the time, soak your chicken overnight in a mix of buttermilk spiked with hot sauce for an extra boost of flavor. And then, in the spirit of making sure we stuff this next year full to the brim of good memories and even better bites, let’s go ahead and add some crisp and tender Coconut & Panko Fried Popcorn Shrimp and a bomb little sweet and spicy sauce!
Here’s to a 2022 full of flavor and fun!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Chicken and Shrimp:
2 quarts refined avocado oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups corn starch
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional to taste
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
6 large eggs
1-pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-pound peeled medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Lemon wedges, to serve
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Sweet and Tangy Special Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons mustard
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
•Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350ºF on a fry thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
•Combine the flour, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine. Divide the flour mixture into two bowls (one bowl for chicken, one bowl for shrimp).
•In a separate medium bowl, add the large eggs and whisk well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the eggs into two medium bowls (one bowl for chicken, one bowl for shrimp).
•Pat the chicken and shrimp dry using paper towels. Using one set of flour mixture and eggs, dip the chicken into the flour, shaking off any excess, dip into the eggs letting any excess drip off, then back into the flour. Be sure to really press the chicken into the flour mixture to ensure the flaky, crispy bits. Place into the fry oil and allow to fry for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through to 165ºF on a meat thermometer. Remove to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken.
•Using the second set of flour and egg mixture, dredge the shrimp in the flour and egg first then press into panko breadcrumbs and shredded coconut, repeat this same process with the shrimp until all is fried (If there is concern of shellfish allergy, fry the shrimp in separate oil from the chicken). You know the shrimp is cooked through if it’s completely opaque on the inside when cutting into a piece.
•Season the hot chicken and shrimp with salt and serve with sweet and tangy special sauce and lemon wedges.
For the Sweet and Tangy Special Sauce:
•Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon zest and juice, pickle relish, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl. Season with salt and set aside.