There literally must be dozens of recipes for oven fried chicken, but they're either totally lacking in flavor or they're just plain wimpy when it comes to crunchiness and crispiness. But all that's over now! My secret version of this recipe not only explodes with rich, spicy chicken taste, it's almost crunchier than anything that comes out of a deep fryer! Do some tonight and see!
1 whole box white Melba toast (5 oz.)
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 large whole eggs
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Frank Davis Poultry Seasoning
? tsp. dried oregano
? tsp. sweet basil
? tsp. garlic powder
? tsp. salt
? tsp. ground black pepper
? tsp. cayenne pepper
8 pieces of chicken (4 drumsticks and 4 thighs) (Or 8 lean center cut pork chops, trimmed)
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and adjust the oven rack so that it rests in the upper-middle position. This is important if the chicken or chops are to brown properly. Then while the oven is heating, take a large sheet pan, line it with aluminum foil, spray a flat wire rack with Pam or Vegalene, and place the rack over the pan. (By using a rack, the heat will circulate around the chicken or chops and you won't have to turn the pieces over).
Next, place the Melba toast crumbs in a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish. Then drizzle the vegetable oil over the crumbs and toss them well to coat them. When the dry coating is ready set it aside momentarily. Then in a shallow dish or pie plate, make a "flavored wash" by mixing together with a fork the eggs, mustard, poultry seasoning, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne (in fact, for best results I suggest you whip it so completely it froths).
Now, working one piece at a time, coat the chicken on both sides by dipping it in the pan with the flavored wash. Then immediately transfer it to the pan with the Melba crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the chicken and press the chicken piece into the crumbs to coat. At this point, turn the chicken over and repeat the coating process on the other side. When both sides are treated, gently shake off any excess crumbs and place the chicken on the greased wire rack.
When all the pieces have been dipped and coated and placed on the rack (they get super-crunchy if you try to keep them from touching each other), slide the pan into the oven and bake the chicken until it becomes a rich, deep, nutty brown and internal juices run clear (which should take you about 40-45 minutes).
For the crispiest results, serve the chicken piping hot right from the oven, along side a dish of creamed potatoes, a cold green salad, a stack of buttered homemade biscuits, and a bowl of spicy, country-style white flour gravy. Can you even imagine anything better-tasting than this?
Chef's Notes: ? Oven fried chicken always becomes rubbery when you leave the skin on. So whether you prefer just the thighs and drumsticks or the whole chicken including the breast halves, I suggest that you completely remove all the skin, wash the pieces well, and pat them dry with paper towels before preparing them for oven-frying.
The secret to the "crunch" in oven-frying is the Melba toast-forget everything you ever learned about cornflakes, Grape-Nuts, oatmeal, cracker crumbs, stuffing mix, and all the others. From this point on, use nothing but Melba toast. But be careful not to over-process it. Put the whole box of toast into a gallon-size Ziploc bag and pound it with a meat maul until it processes to a uniform "sand and pebble consistency." Do not use a food processor-it turns the toast too fine (even it pulsed) and you end up with a soggy crust on baked chicken.
If you prefer to cook 8 pork chops instead of 8 pieces of chicken, simply substitute Frank Davis Pork Seasoning for the poultry seasoning. The rest of the recipe remains the same, with the exception of a change in baking time depending upon the size of the chops (thin ones should take about 25 minutes-thick ones could take up to 50 minutes). In either case, though, take care not to overcook them or you'll dry them out!
If Frank Davis Seasonings are not available at your favorite grocery, they may be ordered from my web site, www.frankdavis.com.