Chow Town

It’s time to declare July National Fried Chicken month

Rittmaster fried chicken features fried onions
Rittmaster fried chicken features fried onions

It’s July, and it’s hot. Hey, it’s summer time and my wife has spoiled me for many years on my birthday when she fries chicken for me and the family.

Lisa has become known as the queen of fried chicken in our family and everyone knows I love fried chicken. I do realize that it’s not easy for any chicken in the summertime when the temperature in the kitchen can reach almost 85 degrees.

Lisa’s recipe is very simple, just flour, salt and pepper but her gravy and side dishes put the meal at another level. Did I tell you about the biscuits?

So this past week, Lisa taught a class at Olive Tree. This was her first cooking class ever and she fried over 150 pieces of chicken. Believe me, this girl can fry!

And did I mention my family Sunday dinner at Stroud’s this week? Oh yes, so traditional and really one of the best fried chicken houses in America. Very iconic indeed.

I also would like the record to show that I have declared July National Fried Chicken month. Why you may ask? Why not? We enjoy barbecue ribs, hotdogs and hamburgers along with watermelon and fresh peaches at family picnics

Fried chicken should rate right up there as the No. 1 picnic food in America. Agreed?

As many of you know, I do recipe development for the weekly ad at Hen House Markets. For the month of July, I have five fried chicken recipes that are available and shared in their weekly flyer ad and on social media. Each one is unique and very tasty including one that has been brined, one historical and a couple that are quite spicy.

This past week, a very good friend of mine, Sharna Rittmaster, posted a photo of her father’s fried chicken that he is known for. I think they were celebrating fried chicken month with me. Ha ha! Anyway, the photo caught my eye because it looked something very similar to the fried chicken that our restaurant’s chef has made for many years. It was crispy and actually covered in more crispy onions.

And so, I wrote my friend and asked if her father would share the recipe and immediately she responded.

Sharna says her family calls this Jewish Fried Chicken and the whole process takes about an hour — it’s delicious when done, it’ll look over-cooked and the onions will be browned and almost burnt.

All you do is season and flour the 16 pieces of chicken, fry in a pan with some oil, at first skin down until brown, then flip over — at this time throw in sliced onions (he used four) let this side of chicken brown, flip the chicken every few minutes. Seriously, it’s that easy. Believe me I have tried it several times now and it is absolutely delicious.

I am honored that she shared this family recipe with me and hope you enjoy as much as I do. Happy Fried Chicken Month!

Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s runs his family’s 62-year-old restaurant with his brother. Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is host to many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. He also sells dressings and sauces.