Andrew Zimmern's Trick For Perfectly Frying In Butter

Andrew Zimmern has some pretty high standards when it comes to what makes great food. So when he says something tasted so delicious he "almost fainted," we want to know how to make it!

That meal was butter fried chicken, and on his YouTube series, Andrew Zimmern Cooks, the chef-entrepreneur-TV personality confesses this meal is "in my head more often than not." It's in the monthly dinner rotation at the Zimmern house because it pleases the whole crowd, including kids. In the video description, he writes, "Paired with a bright citrus punch and salty capers, this fried chicken entrée makes everyone happy."

Zimmern says he first tasted this chicken 30 years ago when he was training in Florence. The preparation surprised him, he says, because he had been in Italy for weeks and had yet to see any butter. Andrew Zimmern's frying tips for butter fried chicken work for more than poultry. Luckily for us, he explains a little bit of the science behind cooking in butter.

Medium heat and foam are the secret

During the video, Andrew Zimmern demonstrates and explains the trick to handling butter perfectly. In it, you'll notice that after preparing the chicken breasts, Zimmern heats a generous amount of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Watch it carefully, and don't go higher, or the milk solids will burn (via MyRecipes). Success lies in the timing. Butter contains 13-17 percent water, according to Science of Cooking. As your butter starts to get very hot (specifically, 212 degrees F), you'll notice that it will produce large bubbles. 

These bubbles are the water evaporating in reaction to the heat from your stove. Zimmern says it's important to wait for these big bubbles to dissipate before adding the chicken. "Once the water is gone, the butter will start browning," Zimmern explains. (Specifically, it's the milk proteins that are browning.) "You can't brown in the presence of moisture." Once the butter begins to foam, you can start adding the food to the pan.

A helpful tip. Scrape the bottom of the pan so that the browning milk proteins don't stick, and really keep an eye on your butter before and after the food is added, as the foam can make it hard to see if the butter is perfectly brown. 

Zimmern's picatta-style chicken features all the brown-buttery goodness you could want as well as the flavors of shallots, lemon, and capers. "If you love that crispy, butter-soaked breadcrumb awesomeness, it's just absolutely breathtaking," he says.