Buttermilk Fried Chicken For Father’s Day

Good morning. It’s been slow out here in the shallow water, looking for fish on pancakes of sand, by muddy banks, in rock piles where the tide sluices in and out, at spots with names known only to those who fish them: Cheney’s; Manny’s Place; Ethan Allen; Left Side; Derr’s Flat.

We stand on the boat, on a platform at the stern or on the softening deck in the bow, and we look. We stare. We see. Sometimes the fish come, sliding around happy in the middle of the outgoing tide: Cast! Other times they don’t, and eyes move up: an osprey, a wisp of cloud, a bald eagle, a flapping flag on a pole a mile away, an oystercatcher, a jetliner inbound from Europe, terns, oak trees, a congregation of glossy ibises flapping into a wedge above the marsh.

All this but my thoughts run, mostly, to dinner: the chicken I’ve got resting in a buttermilk bath for fried chicken (above), a father’s gift to himself, my favorite fried chicken recipe, hard-won over time.


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I’d like it with mashed potatoes, green beans and a river of gravy. The gravy’s easily made: Just swirl a few tablespoons of the oil you’ve used to fry the chicken into a pan set over medium-low heat and, when it’s hot, add an equal amount of flour. Stir this around vigorously to rid the mixture of lumps, then cook until it’s just beginning to smell nutty. Add a splash of stock or white wine, stir again to combine, and then add milk or half and half, stirring all the while, until you’ve got something that looks like gravy, that coats the back of a spoon. Season aggressively with salt and black pepper, then thin it out if you need to with more stock or wine.

Maybe strawberry shortcakes for dessert? That’s a nice Father’s Day meal on the nicest of Father’s Days, even absent a fish.

As for the rest of the week. …

There’s something deeply comforting about Colu Henry’s recipe for creamy white beans with herb oil, a 15-minute pantry meal that pairs brilliantly with a simple green salad and a hunk of bread. Did someone once crumble cooked bacon over the top? He did!

What a cool recipe from Jan Scannell, adapted by Sheela Prakash: the South African grilled cheese sandwiches known as braaibroodgies, made with sweet fruit chutney and cooked over coals, or a medium-low gas grill, or even a cast-iron pan in a pinch. Scannell believes that “the correct way to slice braaibroodjies is diagonally, and the correct time to serve is immediately.”

Ali Slagle’s recipe for green curry glazed tofu is fragrant, sweet and spicy, a weeknight win worth repeating again and again. And there’s no need to press the tofu. A warming stint in the pan lets it crisp right up.

And then you can head into the weekend with Nargisse Benkabbou’s 40-minute chicken tagine, made with boneless chicken thighs, olives, preserved lemon, melted onions and a big hit of ginger, ground turmeric and garlic. So good.

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