Hey Guys, Kentucky Derby is just around the corner and I put together a great menu for it that I shot on the Today Show with Matt, Meredith, Anne and Al - check out the recipes and photos of the food and from the studio... THE ULTIMATE FRIED CHICKEN Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence Yield: 4 servings Time: 2 hours 40 minutes (includes brining time) 1 (3-4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces buttermilk and siracha for brining (enough buttermilk to cover chicken) 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons garlic powder 2 tablespoons onion powder 2 tablespoons sweet paprika 2 teaspoons cayenne Freshly ground black pepper 2 cups buttermilk 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, such as Srirachi Hot Chili Sauce Peanut oil for frying 1/4 bunch fresh thyme 3 big sprigs fresh rosemary 1/4 bunch fresh sage 2 fresh bay leaves 1/2 head garlic, smashed, husk still attached lemon wedges, for serving Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Cover the chicken with buttermilk and add enough siracha until the mixture is a light pink. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. In a large shallow platter, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne until well blended; season generously with salt and pepper. In another platter combine a fresh batch of buttermilk and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces, a few at a time, in the flour mixture, then dip them into the buttermilk; dredge them again in the seasoned flour. Set aside and let the chicken rest while you prepare the oil. Put about 3 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up more than half way. Add the thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaves and garlic to the cool oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil registers 375˚F on one of those clip-on deep-fry thermometers. The herbs and garlic will perfume the oil with their flavor as the oil comes up to temperature. Once the oil has reached 375 degrees F, working in batches, carefully add the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. When the chicken is done, take a big skimmer and remove the chicken pieces and herbs from the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and lay it on a tea towel or brown paper bag to soak up the oil. Sprinkle all over with more salt and a dusting of cracked black pepper. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Once all the chicken is fried, scatter the fried herbs and garlic over the top. Serve hot, with big lemon wedges. Recipes courtesy Tyler Florence TEA SANDWICHES • these sandwiches are served open-faced, on round discs of toast make 4-6 of each vaiety of sandwich 2 dozen slices of white toast bread extra-virgin olive oil Begin by making the round toasts. Using a cookie cutter (about 2-inch diameter) cut out circles of bread from the slices. Using a pastry brush, brush with olive oil and place on a sheet tray in a 350 degree oven and bake until golden and cripsy – about 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and use as the base for the following salad toppings. topping: 2 cups of shredded roasted deli chicken meat 1 cup chopped celery 1 cup chopped pineapple 1 cup of halved red grapes 2 tablespoons chopped chives 1 cup of candied pecans 2 cups of israeli (curly) arugula 1 cup mayo 1/2 cup sour cream 2 teaspoon lemon juice kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper extra-virgin olive oil Begin by making the dressing. In a large bowl combine mayo, sour cream, lemon juice and olive oil. Using a whisk stir well until combined fully. Season with salt and pepper. In a food processor add the chicken, celery, pineapple. Pulse a couple of times until well chopped. Fold this mixture into the mixing bowl with dressing and add grapes and chopped chives. Stir well until fully incorporated then give it a final season with salt and pepper to taste. Using an ice cream scoop top each disc of bread with a scoop of the chicken salad and top with some arugula and a couple of candied pecans. GARDEN PUREE WITH HAM topping: 1/2 pound sliced San Danielle Prosciutto 2 cloves garlic 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed 1 pound English peas, shelled, or 1 cup frozen petite peas 1/2 pound asparagus, tips only (about 2 ½ inches) 1/2 pound haricot verts or tender green beans, trimmed 2/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese 3 green onions, green parts only, roughly chopped Truffled Pecorino shavings Extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the peas, asparagus tips, and haricot verts and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. (If you’re using frozen peas, you can throw them in during the last couple of minutes, to thaw.) Drain, transfer to a bowl of salted ice water to stop cooking, and drain again. Puree in a food processor with the ricotta, green onion greens, a drizzle of oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Smear onto the discs of bread then layer over twisted pieces of prosciutto (so it looks like ribbons). Drizzle with a little olive oil to finish. SALMON SALAD 1 baked 12oz salmon fillet, flaked 12oz smoked salmon, rough chopped into pieces 1/2 cup pickled red onion slices (recipe below) 2 tablespoons salted button capers, washed 2 tablespoons fresh dill weed, rough chopped Extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup whipped cream cheese Begin by baking the fresh salmon fillets. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a roasting tray drizzle with olive oil and place salmon fillet "skin" side down. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper then sprinkle with dill weed. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Salmon will turn reddish-pink when done. Remove from skin and rough chop salmon up. In a large mixing bowl, combine with smoked salmon pieces and add capers, pickled red onion and dill. Wet with olive oil and just before ready to serve season with salt and pepper. TO assemble sandwiches smear each disc of toast with whipped cream cheese and top with a spoonful of salmon salad mix. Garnish with an extra stem of dill weed and more cracked black pepper. pickled red onion: 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 medium red onion, julienned In a small sauce pan heat vinegar with sugar to dissolve. Add salt and pepper. Pour hot mixture over a bowl of julienned red onion and allow to steep. Once cooled slightly place in refrigerator to chill. Drain onions before serving. PITCHER OF PERFECT ICED TEA Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence 2 quarts of water 4 regular tea bags (or use specific Iced Tea tea bags – they are larger) 1 lemon, sliced 1 cup bar sugar (superfine sugar) orange blossom honey fresh mint stems ice cubes - Always start with cold water. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and then pour over 4 tea bags in a glass pitcher. Cover with plastic and let steep for 30 minutes at room temperature. Ratio = 2:1 tea bags: qts of water. - Add 1 cup of sugar to pitcher and stir until dissolved. - Add 4 slices of lemon if desired and refrigerate. - Add ice cubes to bring level back upto 2 quarts - Secret to keeping it clear: let it cool to room temperature before you put it in the refrigerator. If it goes cloudy you can add some boiling water – but remember this will make it weaker - Serve pitcher of tea with a small pitcher of simple syrup (2 cups of sugar: 1 cup of water). Then each individual can adjust sweetness to personal preference. You can also serve with honey if desired - Add hints of flavor to tea by adding fresh mint leaves, peach slices or nectar, ginger simple syrup… MINT JULEPS Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence Yield: 2 large cocktails Time: 5 minutes 2 tablespoons superfine sugar 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 handfuls of fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish 3 cups of crushed ice 1 cup (8 oz) of Kentucky bourbon In the bottom of 2 glasses add mint leaves, sugar and lemon juice. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon bruise the leaves and crush to release the oils and dissolve the sugar. Top with crushed ice – pile it high then top off with good quality Kentucky Bourbon. Garnish with 3-4 sprigs of mint per glass.