Words and Photos used with permission from Atlanta Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Big Peach
Atlanta boasts a bevy of talented chefs along with a devoted community of food-driven fans. Writer Kate Parham Kordsmeier tapped into its very heart, mining the city for its best dishes, collecting recipes along the way. Here's one of our favorite plates (via Gunshow) from one of our new favorite cookbooks (via Kate).
Ever since his big, bearded splash on Top Chef, Kevin Gillespie's went from emerging Atlanta chef to toast of the town. His flagship restaurant Gunshow famously serves an ever-revolving menu of inspired, seasonally-driven dishes and drinks dim sum style. One of our favorites is his Vietnamese-style chicken and waffles, an inventive riff on standard Southern soul food.
Author Kate Parham Kordsmeier shares this recipe from her recent cookbook release, Atlanta Chef's Table, which is slammed front-to-back with killer breakdowns of the city's culinary scene.
Vietnamese Style Chicken and Waffles
4 tablespoons minced shallots
4 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 Thai bird chilies, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fish sauce (Red Boat or Squid preferred)
3 large limes, juiced
2 cups high-quality maple syrup
2 (8-ounce) chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons accent flavor enhancer (MSG)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup corn starch
1/3 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 gallon oil for frying (canola or peanut preferred)
Store-bought waffle batter (enough to make 2 waffles)
3/4 cup roasted and chopped peanuts (can substitute pecans), plus 1/2 cup for garnish
non-stick pan spray
2 tablespoons rough chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) softened butter
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the first 6 ingredients (shallots through salt) to release the oils and dissolve the salt and sugar. (Note: If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a blender instead.) Add the ground mixture to a large bowl. Mix in the fish sauce, lime juice and maple syrup. Reserve.
Combine the chicken, buttermilk, MSG, and salt in a large bowl. Marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the next 8 ingredients (all-purpose flour through onion powder), mixing well.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer until a candy thermometer reads 325°F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and dredge in the flour mixture. Carefully add the chicken to the hot oil and fry until golden and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Drain the fried chicken on paper towels and season lightly with kosher salt.
Meanwhile, make the waffle batter according to package directions. Add the peanuts to the batter, mixing well. Pour the batter onto a waffle maker set to medium-high and sprayed with non-stick pan spray. Bake until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
To serve, place the fried chicken on top of the waffle and drizzle with the syrup. Garnish with the peanuts, cilantro and butter.
For more chef-driven Atlanta recipes and restaurant scoop, pick up a copy of Atlanta Chef's Table.