Summer Comfort Picnic

The hearty flavors of Southern-inspired comfort food take on a certain lightness when served chilled. This menu, great for a gathering of six to eight, is for eating with your hands: spread your blanket out in the warm evening sun and linger until the fireflies flash in the dark. Toast with chilled Lambrusco (it's our favorite summer sparkling red) and tuck in to a meal of spicy-sweet corn bread, mustardy slaw, classic cold fried chicken, and dense, rich brownies.

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RECIPE: Southern Fried Chicken
Simply seasoned and fried, with a thin, crisp coating and tender, juicy meat, the fried chicken at Martha Lou's Kitchen is some of the best we've ever tasted. This recipe first appeared in our May 2011 issue, with the article Specialty of the House.

Peanut oil, for frying
4 cups flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 3-4 lb. whole chickens, cut into quarters
2 cups milk
2 eggs

Pour oil into an 8-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of 3″, and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325°. Place flour in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Whisk milk and eggs in a large bowl, and, working in batches, dip chicken quarters in milk mixture, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Place in oil and fry, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and dark brown, 15 minutes for white meat, 20 minutes for dark meat. Drain on paper towels and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Also tastes delicious at room temperature!

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The Menu

Blue Cheese Dip and Fresh Veggies: You can also serve this tart, cooling dip with fiery chicken wings.

Piquant Corn Bread: This twist on classic corn bread is spiked with cheddar cheese, cilantro, and minced jalapeños.

Fried Chicken: Simply seasoned and fried, with a thin, crisp coating and tender, juicy meat, this fried chicken is some of the best we've ever tasted.

Tennessee-Style Mustard Coleslaw: Classic coleslaw gets a welcome kick with the addition of mustard.

Katharine Hephburn's Brownies: A version of this recipe accompanied an interview with the actress Katharine Hepburn in the August 1975 issue of The Ladies' Home Journal. This brownie recipe, which calls for the smallest amount of flour, produces incredibly chewy bars with a full but mellow chocolate flavor.

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About this Menu