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Fried and True at the Perez - May 27, 2014

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Lee Brian Schrager introduced his new book, Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides in a most unusual space - the outdoor patio of the Perez Art Museum, Miami.  It was quite a setting.  Schrager is the creator of the New York Food and Wine Festival and the South Beach Food and Wine Festival and he really knows how to put on an event.

I was doubtful as to how at least 150 guests would be able to be served quality food, but he did it with aplomb with a combination of sit down dinner and serving lines.  There were four open bars that served pink and red sangrias, lemonade, and a deadly bourbon punch.  There were five food stations, the cookbook give-away and a live duo for country music. 

The weather was perfect, breezy on the intracoastal, and the food constantly flowed.  Tables were set with rustic charm and the side dishes kept coming: collard greens, macaroni, corn-on-the-cob, biscuits, cole slaw, and carrots with yogurt glaze. 

The star of the show, of course, was the fried chicken.  I started with Michy’s fried chicken from Michelle Berstein’s restaurant.  She is currently holding fried chicken nights on Wednesday’s until June 28th.  It was accompanied by a watermelon Greek salad with feta cheese.  The chicken was fairly spicy with a hint of anise, at least I thought although it’s not in her recipe.

Next up was Asha Gomez’ Keralan Fried Chicken with low country cardamon waffles and spicy maple syrup.  I opted out of the waffles but the chicken was delicious with the spicy syrup. 

The third chicken I sampled was totally different in style and taste.  It was Yotam Ottolenghi’s Seeded Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley-Caper Mayonnaise.  I think this was my number two favorite.  It was more like a cutlet pounded flat and lightly breaded.  I also recommend the parsley-caper mayonnaise.

Paula Deen’s Fried Chicken was probably the most traditional of the five. If you read the recipe, it’s basically egg wash, flour, salt and pepper.  It was delicious and you can understand how it is one of the foundations of her restaurant’s success.

Last but not least was Michael Solomonov’s Federal Donuts Fried Chicken and Sauce.  The chicken was made the traditional way but the sauce was really interesting with chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, a Malaysian sweet soy sauce and apple cider vinegar.  It really had a nice kick to it.

My favorite?  Paula Deen’s! 

© Fred Searcy 2017