The boyfriend’s friend has been staying with us for the past week so I was excited to have another mouth to feed. He asked if I could make buttermilk fried chicken so I searched and searched for the absolute perfect recipe. That’s when I came across Emeril Lagasse’s recipe using his “Original Essence” spice.

I was immediately drawn in because I love combining different spices together and creating a super spice, which is exactly what the Essence is. The chicken not only marinated in buttermilk mixed with this super spice but the flour on the chicken was also combined with this, making it a double hit of flavor.

Essence: Emeril’s Creole Seasoning (adapted from Emeril Lagasse):

Yields 2/3 cup

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

(I was definitely a bit flustered when I saw how many spices were required for this seasoning but no need to fret. Most of them are probably already in your pantry.)

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken (adapted from Emeril Lagasse):

Yields 4-8 servings

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup Emeril’s Original Essence, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups flour
  • Canola oil, for frying

(The original recipe called for a whole chicken but I prefer drumsticks so I bought 2 packages of five drumsticks from Trader Joes and downsized the recipe in half to serve 2-3 people.)

Combine the salt, 1/4 cup of the Essence and sugar. Add the buttermilk and stir to completely dissolve the salt and sugar.

Immerse the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. (I prefer to use Ziplocs to marinate.)

Combine the flour and remaining 2 tablespoons Essence.

Heat 4 inches of oil to 375 degrees F in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and shake to remove excess. Add the chicken in batches to the flour and shake to completely coat. Remove and shake to remove excess flour.

Fry the chicken in batches, skin-side down, until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Turn and fry until golden brown on the second side, about 8 minutes longer.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: An even oil temperature is key to the success of this recipe; a clip on candy/deep-fry thermometer should be kept in the pot at all times. And the temperature should register at least 325 degrees F during the cooking process.