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Photograph: Marcus NillsonUnion Square Cafe fried chicken from Family Table
Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home by by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner

Tiny Kitchen Recipes: Fried chicken from Union Square Cafe

Get a peek inside the kitchen of Danny Meyer's downtown restaurant with this dish, which is often served as a family meal

By Marley Lynch

Welcome to Tiny Kitchen Recipes, a feature in which we ask chefs, writers, and food bloggers in New York City and beyond to share a recipe with us. Always wallet-friendly, these creations are feasible whether you live to cook or recently stopped using your oven for shoe storage.

RECOMMENDED: All recipes from us

Have you ever wondered what the staff at your favorite restaurants eats on a daily basis? Family Table, a cookbook by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner, gets to the heart of the matter by collecting staff meal recipes from Danny Meyer's restaurants, from Maialino to Gramercy Tavern. This crispy main-course dish is from one of Union Square Cafe's family meals, and we have a feeling it might come in handy during a certain sporting event coming up next month.

Union Square Cafe fried chicken from Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner

- 1 3- to 3 1/2–pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces (legs, thighs, wings, and breasts split and halved again; back reserved for stock if desired)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup graham-cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl, add the buttermilk, and let soak for 30 minutes at room temperature, turning occasionally.

Combine the flour, crumbs, paprika, salt, garlic powder and cayenne in a medium bowl, mixing well. Drain the chicken pieces and dredge in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. 

In a large, deep cast-iron skillet, heat about 2 inches of oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 325 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer. Using tongs, carefully add the chicken pieces in batches, without crowding. Cook wings for 6 minutes and the rest of the chicken pieces for 8 minutes. Turn with the tongs and cook on the second side for another 6 minutes for wings, 8 minutes for the rest, or until the interior temperature of a thigh reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the chicken from the oil and drain on paper towels; bring the oil back to 325 degrees before you fry each batch. 

Serve immediately.

4 to 6 servings

Excerpted from Family Table © 2013 by USHG, LLC, and Karen Stabiner. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


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