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BBQ Ranch Fried Chicken Salad

DM: "Hey Jess! Whatcha making for dinner?"


"Oh, I'm making this amazing crispy fried chicken thigh salad tonight! It's got these juicy chicken thighs coated in a flavorful buttermilk marinade and then fried to golden perfection. I'll be topping it off with a mix of arugula and romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, Mexican shredded cheese, crispy bacon crumbles, and crunchy tortilla strips. And to finish it all off, a drizzle of ranch dressing and barbecue sauce for that perfect balance of creamy and tangy flavors. It's seriously delicious and such a crowd-pleaser!"




Vibe: For the vibe of this recipe, think "Groove Is in the Heart" by Deee-Lite. It's all about embracing the fun, funky, and upbeat energy while still keeping things laid-back and relaxed. Just like how this song brings a mix of playful rhythms and smooth melodies, this crispy fried chicken thigh salad combines crunchy textures with juicy flavors for a satisfying meal that's both lively and easygoing. So, put on your dancing shoes and get ready to groove your way through dinner!


 

Ingredients:

For the fried chicken thighs:
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

  • 2 cups buttermilk

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Vegetable oil for frying


For the salad:
  • 4 cups mixed greens (arugula and shredded romaine)

  • 1 cup Mexican shredded cheese

  • 1 cup tortilla strips

  • 1 cup crispy bacon, baked and crumbled

  • 1 cup freshly sliced tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup store-bought ranch dressing

  • 1/2 cup store-bought barbecue sauce

 

Instructions:

1. Marinate the Chicken Thighs:

- Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl and cover them with buttermilk.

- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to tenderize the chicken.

2. Prepare the Salad Ingredients:

- Wash and dry the mixed greens, tomatoes, and any other fresh produce.

- Cook the bacon until crispy, then crumble it into smaller pieces.

- Have the Mexican shredded cheese, tortilla strips, ranch dressing, and barbecue sauce ready for assembly.

3. Fry the Chicken Thighs:

- Remove the chicken thighs from the buttermilk marinade and allow any excess marinade to drip off.

- In a shallow dish, mix together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

- Dredge each chicken thigh in the seasoned flour mixture, making sure to coat evenly and shaking off any excess flour.

- Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F (175°C).

- Carefully place the chicken thighs skin-side down into the hot oil. Be cautious not to overcrowd the skillet; you may need to fry in batches.

- Fry the chicken thighs for about 6-8 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and crispy and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).

- Once cooked, remove the chicken thighs from the oil and place them on a wire rack or paper towels to drain any excess oil.

4. Assemble the Salad:

- On a large serving platter or individual plates, arrange the mixed greens as the base of the salad.

- Top the greens with the sliced tomatoes, Mexican shredded cheese, tortilla strips, and crumbled bacon.

- Place the crispy fried chicken thighs on top of the salad.

- Drizzle the ranch dressing and barbecue sauce over the salad according to your taste preference.

5. Serve and Enjoy:

- Serve the crispy fried chicken thigh salad immediately, allowing everyone to mix the ingredients together and enjoy the delicious combination of flavors and textures.

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