All the rich food called for a crisp beer. I chose Mama's Little Yella Pils by Oskar Blues, Longmont, Colorado. Oskar Blues had a big presence at Philly Beer Week, and their line is rather new to Pennsylvania. Along with Sly Fox, they are part of the small-but-growing segment of craft breweries that use aluminum cans rather than glass bottles for retail sales. Sunday was the first time I'd seen their cans at my local distributor.
Now, as some people know, I have a serious jones for fried chicken. For years my go-to recipe has been the Bon-Ton style (Gourmet via epicurious), which is unbelievably juicy, crunchy and nicely spicy. Jarrett Wrisley was definitely speaking my language in his account of fried chicken on the streets of Bangkok. The man worked hard to get this recipe!
Chicken marinated for 18 hours in coriander root, pepper, garlic, etc.
While the frying oil was heating up, I set to work on the risotto. With our absurd bounty of ramps, I doubled the recipe.
Ramps, cleaned and ready to use
The chicken was just as crispy and juicy as promised, and the garlic and coriander lent a subtle tang to the crust. I thought it could use a bit more heat, so next time I might double the amount of hot pepper flakes, or maybe include some finely chopped Thai chiles in the marinade/batter. A nice big dollop of Sriracha sauce is essential for dipping. I'll definitely be trying this recipe again in the future.
On a normal day the risotto would be too heavy to complement fried chicken, but with Sunday's weather, it just seemed right. The pungent yet delicate flavor of the ramps melded nicely into the rich rice. And Mama's Little Yella Pils was a good choice to cool the Sriracha heat. I wasn't blown away by this beer -- while it's appropriately bitter for the style, a little more emphasis on the flavor and aroma hops would really put it over the top. Next time I'll stick with Sly Fox Pikeland Pils if I want pilsner in a can.