I survived, I figured I would and it was actually much easier than I thought. Save for the fact I work in a meat-centric restaurant, it really wasn’t that hard avoiding beef altogether. Pork was a little more difficult due my addiction to cured meats and bacon, but I found it surprising that chicken was the most difficult thing to give up. I can only assume it’s because when I feel like I want to do something better for myself, I go with chicken instead of a fattier piece of meat.
Once the end of my Vegetarian Experiment was in sight, I began planning those first few meals. I was hesitant to jump right into a big steak, though I was quite tempted. I decided on easing back in with chicken, chicken thighs to be exact, my favorite part of the bird. There is a little more fat in the thighs, therefore more flavor. They grill up well and fry even better.
Since we are close to the other side of summer, corn is becoming abundant and sweet. Let’s face it, it’s an odd bird that doesn’t like corn. I like mine charred a little to enhance the sweetness and add a little hint of bitterness, and that’s where the inspiration for the relish came from.
You don’t have to fry this, you could just as easily grill the thighs, the choice and the mess is yours to decide if you want to deal with it. I served mine on a bed of cheddar polenta to carry through the corn theme but you could easily do this over mashed potatoes or a salad.
1. Combine the chicken thighs, garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil and salt. Mix Well.
2. Allow chicken to marinate for four hours in refrigerator.
3. Set fryer to 325 degrees or use a high sided pot on the stove with a thermometer.
4. Mix eggs and milk.
5. Place the chicken thighs in the egg mixture and dredge in flour.
6. Fry for 15-20 minutes.
7. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to drain.
For the Charred Corn-Red Onion Relish
2 ears corn, cleaned
1 small red onion, cut into half inch thick slices
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 oz. pure olive oil + more for grilling
2 oz. red wine vinegar
Lots of fresh ground black pepper
1. Lightly oil the corn and red onion.
2. Grill over high heat until they begin to char slightly.
3. Allow to cool.
4. Slice the corn from the cob.
5. Dice the red onion.
6. Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
7. Season with the salt and black pepper.