Maria’s Sicilian Style Breaded Fried Chicken


What could be better than having fried chicken for a summer time picnic or get together?  Leftovers are also great the next day, if not better.  This southern Italian fried chicken is about as southern as it got in our family growing up.  Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.

This is my mother Maria’s fried chicken recipe.  It brings back memories of summer picnics we had on the beaches of Southhold, Long Island.  If you want a different take on fried chicken – this is it.  Succulent, tender chicken coated in crispy breading seasoned with cheese, parsley, and garlic. Serve with a vinegar-based potato salad and or a green salad.

(Pollo Fritto alla Siciliana)

Difficulty Rating: Medium
Makes 6 servings.

1 1/2 cups plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 pounds bone-in skinless chicken legs and thighs
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
Light olive oil or vegetable shortening for frying

MAKE THE BREADING:  In a shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper by rubbing lightly between your hands.

BREAD THE CHICKEN:  Place enough oil in a large cast iron or heavy skillet (12-inches in diameter) to reach a depth of 1/2-inch to 1-inch.  Heat oil to 325 degrees F.  Do not let the temperature go above 325 degrees F.


Put the flour and eggs separately in 2 shallow dishes.  Prepare a dredging station by placing the chicken in a bowl, and placing the flour next to it.  Place the eggs next to the flour, and the breadcrumbs next to the eggs.  Have ready a rack, placed over a piece of aluminum foil or a baking sheet.  Start by dredging the chicken in flour and then coat with egg.  Finally, place the chicken into the breadcrumbs, rolling and pressing in the breadcrumbs to coat.

Place on rack and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the breading to set.

FRY THE CHICKEN:  Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet.  Working in batches, place several chicken pieces in the hot oil being careful not to overcrowd the pan.  Cook chicken about 10 minutes per side, until internal cooking temperature registers 180 degrees F on cooking thermometer.  Transfer chicken onto cooling rack.

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