How to Fry Chicken. Here is a simple but classic method for that Southern delight, fried chicken. This recipe uses a flour coating rather than batter. Makes four servings.
Put flour, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper in a plastic bag. Shake to mix.
Add cut-up chicken pieces, with or without bones, to bag. (Smaller pieces cook more quickly, so consider cutting each breast half in two.) Shake to coat chicken with the seasoned flour.
Heat 3/4 inch oil in a heavy frying pan (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat, until it gets to 350 degrees F. Use a 2-inch-deep pan if possible to reduce spatters.
When oil is hot, shake any excess flour off the chicken and add the pieces to the pan a few at a time. Don't allow the pieces to touch in the pan. Fry the chicken in batches if your pan won't hold them all with space to spare.
Cook the chicken pieces for about 10 minutes per side. Regulate the heat as the chicken cooks, keeping the oil temperature below 375 degrees - use a deep-frying thermometer to the check the temperature.
Drain chicken on paper towels.
Frying chicken is a messy business. Spread newspapers on the floor in front of the stove to keep the floor clean. Consider moving anything on the stovetop out of the way so it won't acquire a coating of grease.
Be very careful when working with hot oil. It can splatter and cause bad burns. Add chicken carefully to the pan, handling it with long metal tongs if possible.