1/2 cup kosher salt
1 whole chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk
peanut oil, for frying
1. In a large bowl or pot, dissolve kosher salt in 3 quarts of water. Rinse chicken pieces, and add to bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove chicken pieces, and rinse under cool water. Clear space in the refrigerator to accommodate a wire cooling rack.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, and seasonings, and place in a large resealable plastic bag. Shake. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, then whisk in buttermilk. Dip half the chicken pieces in the buttermilk mixture, then place in the plastic bag. Shake, and lay out on a wire rack. Repeat for remaining pieces. Put the rack on a rimmed baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but preferably 2 hours, to set.
3. Pour peanut oil to a depth of 3/4 inch in a large iron Dutch oven. Place over medium-high heat.
4. When oil reaches 365°, arrange chicken pieces in the pan, skin-side down, and cover. After 5 minutes, remove the cover. Adjust heat level, if necessary, so oil bubbles at a moderate pace—not too rapidly and not too slowly (medium to medium-high heat is best, depending on the heat conductivity of your pan). Rearrange pieces if some are browning more quickly than others. After 5 more minutes, turn the pieces over. Cook uncovered for 8 to 10 more minutes or until done. Meanwhile, thoroughly wash and dry the wire rack.
5. Remove the fried chicken to cleaned wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Let drain for 5 minutes, and serve.
I guess I've been uncharacteristically silent about Martha's recent legal troubles. Here's what I think, in a nutshell: What she did was not so awful. It was against the law, but not worth a prison sentence. We should be filling our very expensive prisons with people who are true menaces to society. We should fine Martha a huge sum of money (way more than $30,000), force her to do community service, whatever, but she does not need to be imprisoned. (For the record, I don't even think Kenneth Lay should be imprisoned, although I do think he should be stripped of every last dime until all those poor people get their pensions restored.) I've never watched Martha's show, but I know enough about her to feel certain that she is quite a talented and savvy woman. I believe she has done far more good than harm in this world. Her crime didn't hurt anyone directly. Let's get some perspective here.