Picnic-Fried Chicken

This is fried chicken as they make it in Italy, marinated lemonly for edge and tenderness, then dipped into peppery flour, thence into beaten eggs and fried in olive oil. Actually, this is not quite as they make it in Italy: I add an Anglo note with the addition of English mustard powder to satisfy my need for heat. Cayenne would do the same job, though use it more sparingly.


  • Coating
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 125g plain flour, preferably Italian '00'
  • 2 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 12 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 2 tbsp English mustard powder
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 3 medium eggs
  • Juice of 2 lemons


  1. Put the chicken thighs into a large, shallow dish and marinate in the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and mustard powder for at least an hour, although if you cover the dish and put it in the fridge, you can leave it all marinating for a couple of days. Just make sure, when you want to fry it, that it's got to room temperature first.
  2. When you're ready to go, beat the eggs and lemon zest for the coating together in a large bowl. Season. Mix the flour and mustard powder together on a large plate or, easier still, mix up half and repeat when you've got through the first batch.
  3. Pour olive oil into a large frying pan to about 1cm depth. Heat until sizzling. Dip the chicken in the flour then the eggs, coating on all sides, and put carefully into the hot oil. Cook until golden and crispy, about 15 minutes. You have to be patient about this and proceed batch by small batch: don't crowd the pan or the oil temperature will drop too much and the chicken will be greasy.
  4. I love this cold, dipped into English mustard. Alternatively, spritzed with lemon and sprinkled with Maldon salt is also fabulous.
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes, plus cooling
  • Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling 60 minutes

Serves: 6

4 stars

Average user rating Based on 4 ratings

This recipe was first published in Fri Jul 01 01:00:00 BST 2005.