It might just be my country background, being from a long line of hard-working Texans and Oklahomans, but I love chicken. When I was just a little tyke, my mom would take us on Sunday to visit my grandparents and great aunts and uncles. The men would have visited the chicken coups and would have a few chickens cleaned, and the ladies would have strolled through their gardens and potato cellars and gathered a half dozen varieties of greens, squarsh, beans, and peas, and sunday supper would be home-made rolls or bisquits, fried chicken, mashed or fried potatoes, and country gravy…and at least a half dozen vegetables.
1 Chicken fryer, split into pieces
2 Cups breadcrumbs (see method below)
1/4 Cup olive oil
1 Tblsp kosher or sea salt
1 Tblsp ground pepper
1 Tsp thyme
6 Sprigs fresh rosemary
1 Cup rolled Fritos (or your favorite crunchy, like Tostitos)
1 Cup flour
4 Large eggs
Wash the chicken in water and coat with flour. Beat the eggs until blended. Mix bread crumbs and Fritos (if you don’t make your own with the method below) with 1/2 the olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Roll the chicken in egg then in bread crumbs, and set in refrigerator for at least a half hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken, pieces slightly separated, on a rack over a cookie sheet, spread the rosemary sprigs evenly across the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, making sure not to overbrown the coating. Remove and serve.
Bread Crumbs: You can use store-bought bread crumbs or you can take a half loaf of good French bread, slice into 1/2 inch slices. Toast to a rich brown in your toaster then tear or cut into smaller pieces and pulse in your food processor until you have crumbs. Toss with half the olive oil, the sea salt, the pepper, the ground Fritos, and the thyme. Toast mixture again in a heavy dry skillet on medium heat until beautifully browned. Remove and cool. Should yield four cups.