Celebrate Israel with an Independence Day favorite: fried chicken

Yom HaAtzmaut, or Israel Independence Day, will be celebrated this year on Tuesday, April 20. In Israel the tradition is to get together with friends and family, wave Israeli flags, march in parades, watch fireworks and attend barbecues or picnics.

This is all possible since the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has ruled the day is an official “break” in the period of semi-mourning that follows Passover and lasts until Shavuot.

When I started thinking about food suitable for this year’s holiday, I remembered the fried chicken I used to get from a kosher Israeli restaurant I frequented when I lived in Baltimore many years ago. The chicken was Maryland-style (dipped in egg, flour and bread crumbs), but Middle Eastern in its seasoning with lots of cumin and hot pepper. I always ordered extra to have some to eat the next day.

My Oven-Fried Chicken adapts that concept a bit, removing the chicken’s skin and oven-baking instead of frying. It is good hot from the oven for dinner or room temperature straight from the picnic basket at an outdoor get-together.

To accompany the chicken, try the Honey-Mustard Slaw. Both dishes travel well if you are taking them to a picnic or potluck, and the recipes multiply well if you are making them for a crowd.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Serves 4

Oil spray

1 egg

2 Tbs. lemon juice

Dash of hot pepper sauce

3⁄4 cup flour

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin

1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper

3⁄4 cup panko (Japanese tempura-style) bread crumbs

3 lbs. chicken breast halves or chicken thighs on the bone, skin removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking tray with oil spray. Set aside.

In a large, shallow bowl large enough to dip a piece of the chicken in, beat the egg with the lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Mix the flour with the salt, cumin and black pepper and spread on a plate. Spread the bread crumbs on a plate as well. Rinse and dry skinned chicken. Dip one chicken piece at a time in the egg mixture, turning to coat. Shake off excess egg mixture. Dip into flour mixture, turning to coat and shaking off any excess. Place the chicken piece in the bread crumbs and turn to coat, pressing down or patting on if needed to cover with bread crumbs. Set chicken on prepared baking tray with what would have been the skin side up. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.

Spray top of chicken pieces with oil spray. Put into oven, spraying the top of the chicken pieces again with the oil spray after about 25 minutes. Bake for about another 25 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. (Note: Timing will depend on thickness of the chicken pieces. Also, dark meat will take longer to cook than white.) Serve hot or at room temperature.

Honey-Mustard Slaw

Serves 6

2 lbs. green cabbage

1⁄4 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbs. honey mustard

1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper

Trim cabbage and remove and discard core. Cut or shred cabbage into 1/4-inch shreds or slices. Place in large bowl and set aside. Mix oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined, pour over cabbage shreds and toss to mix thoroughly.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Faith Kramer is a Bay area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit.blogspot.com. Contact her at [email protected]

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].