Time once again for the Food Chain, wherein we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Summer Shack's Jasper White picked Jody Adams's Soupe de Poisson at Rialto as one of his all-time favorites. Today we've asked Adams to chime in on a dish she really loves. Take it away, chef.
"What I love about Susan Feniger's tatsutage fried chicken is that it's the perfect combination of Japanese meets Southern American fried chicken. It's sweet and salty with a crisp batter served with soba noodles and spicy citrus mayonnaise. It's a familiar dish with exotic flavors. It's fun, lively, big and bold. What's not to love?"
"When I grew up, my mom used to cook fried chicken with salt and paprika in a black cast-iron electric pan while I'd sit on a stool. She used to cut the skin off and put it in flour and fry it, then she'd make this dipping sauce out of mayonnaise and salt and pepper. So I had all this light, crispy fried-chicken skin to eat all day, and people would come by and stir the chicken in the sauce. I think my love of fried chicken really came from my childhood.
I've traveled to so many places over the years — India, Turkey, Spain, Mexico, Japan — and I love street food and have eaten and experimented with so many different cuisines while working in different places ... In Japan, the tatsutage chicken is very traditional street food, just something I really love. I think it showed me just how great a light, tempura type of batter can be. So the question was, How do we do this at a restaurant?
We make a very crispy, very light fried chicken by marinating a boneless leg and thigh in mirin, soy, and sake — and you can even make this using leftover chicken — and then we put it in a batter of half rice flour, half all-purpose flour, and sparkling water soda, and lightly fry it so we get this very traditional lighter Japanese batter. Then we add a spicy Kewpie mayonnaise. My mom would do thinly sliced cucumbers that we loved, too, so we add pickled vegetables — carrots, cucumber. This dish is really a remembrance from my childhood with a Japanese twist."