With a cookbook collection of more than 50 cookbooks I recently realized that I have to put the brakes on any further purchases.  My latest strategy has been to “test drive” cookbooks on my wishlist from the library.  One book that has been on my wishlist for a few months now is Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller.  Thomas Keller is kind of a big deal.  He’s a chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and winner of James Beard awards (yes, plural).  He’s behind restaurants like French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon and of course Ad Hoc.  I’ve never dined at a Thomas Keller restaurant before (unless regular treats from Bouchon Bakery count) but a number of his restaurants are on my list of places to try.

I fell in love with Ad Hoc at Home after flipping through it while in various bookstores.  First of all it’s gorgeous.  The photos are so clean and contemporary and make the food look delicious.  The recipes themselves are for really simple comfort food-type dishes… like fried chicken.  When I saw the fried chicken recipe I knew I had to try it.

The last time I made fried chicken was courtesy of this recipe from Cooks Illustrated. It turned out great. The technique for the Ad Hoc chicken had some similarities (brining) but also varied somewhat as well (CI brines in buttermilk, Ad Hoc doesn’t).  As with most great recipes some advanced planning is required.  The chicken has to brine for 12 hours (no more) and then it has to rest for about 1.5 hours.  To make the timing work I had to get up at 6am to brine my chicken so that by the time I got home at 6pm it could sit out until about 7:30pm in time for dinner.

The chicken turned out beautifully.  It totally looked like the chicken I might get from my favourite fried chicken spot.  My big issue however was the saltiness.  WOW was the chicken ever salty.  I ended up brining my chicken for just under 12 hours because I was nervous about salt (I can be kind of sensitive to food that is oversalted).  Clearly I needed to brine for a shorter period.  I also used chicken pieces that were larger than called for but that didn’t seem to help.  Aside from the saltiness the chicken was moist and juicy and the other flavours from the brine (lemon, herbs etc) really shone through and made this a pretty darned good piece of chicken.

Oh, and for the record I ended up ordering the cookbook from The Good Cook for a steal!

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7 Responses to Ad Hoc Buttermilk Fried Chicken

  1. I made Thomas Keller’s fried chicken a few years ago from a recipe he had in either G or BA. It is fantastic! (I cut down the amount of salt because I thought it would be too much too.) I just used a bunch of drumsticks and couldn’t believe how good it was. Your picture is totally drool worthy! Congrats on the FG publish!

  2. K. Walker says:

    Did you use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt? That’s what he specifies — it makes a difference.

  3. Dammit, it only lets me hit "Like" once…

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  4. imabonehead says:

    There is the "share" link :)

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  5. […] imabonehead: Ad Hoc Buttermilk Fried Chicken ” What’s On My Plate (whatsonmyplate.net) […]

  6. Eva says:

    Can I have a piece? I had it at Ad Hoc when I was on vacation last year and it was delicious. I will definitely have to try this recipe at some point.

  7. […] it look like extra amazing fried chicken? Trust me, it was.  In the past, particularly with the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken recipe I’ve found that it turned out too salty so in this case I dialed back on the amount of […]

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