I love fried chicken – but what I don’t  love is the extra calories and deep-frying in my kitchen. I do it so rarely that when I do try, I have a disaster or two (Flambé’d eyebrows grow back, but still!) and the kitchen smells like fried grease for a week. So I just don’t anymore. So along comes my latest email newsletter from the Food Network with this recipe from Cat Cora for Oven Baked Crispy “Fried” Chicken!

I love that even mainstream chefs that are known for their no-holds-barred caloric kitchen adventures – – are coming out with some lower calorie, better for you versions of kitchen classics. This recipe uses Cornflakes for the topping, I used Special K because it’s what I had around the house. It’s tasty and flavorful. Totally worth giving a shot. Mine came out juicy and VERY crispy – and without the greasyiness and extra calories.

Mind you, this recipe isn’t calorie FREE – and you could make some substitutions here and there for lower fat choices. But – what this recipe does offer is a way to make crispy chicken without turning it into a Ringling Brothers production.

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken pieces (preferably 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 wings)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups cornflakes
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground sage

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a rack in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet.

Rinse the chicken in cold water; pat dry. In a wide bowl or on a plate, season the flour with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge each chicken piece through the flour so it’s fully coated, tap against the bowl to shake off excess flour and set aside. Discard the flour.

Crush the cornflakes by placing them in a big resealable plastic bag, carefully pressing the bag to push out the air. Seal up the bag (with as little air inside as possible) and run over the flakes with a rolling pin. Open the bag and pour the crushed flakes into a wide bowl or onto a plate.

In a large bowl (big enough to dredge the chicken pieces), mix the buttermilk, mustard, cayenne pepper, paprika and sage. Give each floured chicken piece a good buttermilk bath and then roll in the cornflake crumbs.

Arrange the chicken pieces on the rack and place in the hot oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375 degrees and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. The juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.