Today is National Greasy Food Day. Hands down, it might just be one of the most unhealthiest National Days on the calendar. You could eat healthy on National Dessert Day if you really wanted to, although I subscribe to the notion that Healthy Desserts are a fine example of an oxymoron. My sister may argue otherwise, but in my book treats are a break from healthy choices.
My first instinct for Greasy Food Day was Hamburgers and French Fries. Really, what could be better? But then I started thinking fried foods. And let’s face it, the best fried has to be Fried Chicken. I thought why not make Nashville Hot Chicken? Yeah, good choice but Nashville Hot Chicken just naturally got me to thinking about another popular dish utilizing Fried Chicken – Chicken and Waffles. After all, it’s Sunday. Fried Chicken, Waffles and embracing greasy foods are a great way to say Hello Sunday!
There is no doubt that Fried Chicken is a southern thing. However; there are conflicting stories as to how the Chicken met the Waffle. Some say that too has Southern roots. Others give credit to the Pennsylvania Dutch for launching the chicken-waffle craze.
My personal favorite is that Chicken and Waffles were born of necessity in Harlem, New York. When the Jazz Clubs closed for the night, those talented Musicians of the 1930s were not yet ready to call it a night. They wandered into places such as Tilliie’s Chicken Shack and Wells Supper Club looking for something satisfying to eat. There was chicken left over from the night before, and cooks were readying for the breakfast crowd, so pancake and waffle batters were already started. It just made practical sense to put the two together on one plate. It’s a nice story, woven in the colorful images of bygone days.
Now these aren’t your everyday Chicken and Waffles. The waffles are made with Bacon and Cheddar Cheese. The buttermilk fried chicken is sizzling with hot spices and the maple sauce has a nice kick. Wow, delicious!
Maybe next year for Greasy Food Day we’ll settle on burgers and fries. But this year has been crazy, and we deserve something extra special, don’t you think?
Beyond Breakfast Chicken and Waffle Sandwich
Bacon Cheddar Waffles
1/3 cup melted Butter
6 slices Bacon
5 Green Onions thinly sliced
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1-1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons fresh Black Pepper
3 large Eggs, room temperature
2 cups Buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Cooking Spray, for waffle iron
Melt butter and allow to cool. While the butter cools, fry bacon crisp. Drain and crumble, set aside. Finely slice green onions, set aside.
Heat waffle iron.
In a large bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and black pepper. Make a well in the center of the bowl and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk together. Pour into the center of the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon, stir the waffle batter until just combined. It should be sightly lumpy. If the batter appears to be too thick, add a splash of buttermilk and stir until pouring consistency is reached. Fold in the cooked chopped bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions.
Lightly grease the waffle iron with cooking spray or melted butter. Pour in about 1/2 cup batter in each waffle cavity, more or less depending on size of waffle iron. Cook until the waffles are golden brown and crispy. Place the cooked waffles on a cooling rack. Once cooled, wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Waffles will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. To rewarm, heat oven to 300 degrees. Place the waffles on a rack inside a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 5 minutes until crisp.
Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken
1 lb Chicken Breast Cutlets
1-1/2 cups Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Hot Sauce
1-1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Canola Oil for frying
Split breasts in half lengthwise to create 2 thin breasts. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Cover with buttermilk and add the hot sauce. Toss together until evenly mixed and all the chicken is submerged in the buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
In a shallow dish combine the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper. To coat the chicken, remove chicken from buttermilk, let excess drip back into dish. Lay chicken on a wire rack. Working with one piece at a time, toss into flour mixture, pat the flour into the chicken, on both sides. Return to the buttermilk bowl for a second dip. Place the chicken back into the flour, once more, and coat both sides. The chicken has now been double-dipped
Lay the chicken on a clean rack placed over a baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken is coated. Allow the coated chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes.
In the meantime, heat about 2 inches of oil in a large cast iron skillet. Once the oil is hot, fry the chicken in batches. Cook for about 5 minutes on the first side, turn over once golden brown and crispy, continue to cook for another 4 minutes on the other side. Drain the chicken and place on a separate rack set over a baking sheet. Hold in a warm oven until ready to assemble sandwiches.
Maple Mustard Sauce
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
3 tablespoons Yellow Mustard
3 tablespoons Spicy Brown Mustard
In a small bowl, whisk syrup and mustards together until smooth.
Note: The sauce will keep in refrigerator for 1 week.
For the Sandwich
3 Roma Tomatoes, sliced
2 Avocados, sliced
Handful Arugula, rinsed
Slice tomatoes into rounds, set aside.
Split avocados open, remove pit. Slice thin while leaving flesh in the skin. Sprinkle with lime juice. Carefully remove from skin. Wrap slices tightly in plastic wrap until ready to use.
Wash Arugula, spin dry and set aside.
To Assemble Sandwich: Place half of the waffle squares on a flat work surface, top each with a piece of fried chicken. Arrange a few sliced tomatoes over each piece of chicken. Top tomatoes with a few slices of avocado, then some arugula. Drizzle with mustard sauce, then top each sandwich with another waffle square.
Cut sandwiches into triangles, hold together with cocktail picks and arrange on a platter to serve.