This article was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, July 6, 2006.

Un-fried chicken

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

6 to 8 chicken pieces
Black pepper


1. Preheat your oven to 425F (220C) and put a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over high heat on top of the stove. When the skillet is hot, rinse the chicken pieces, shake off excess water, and without drying them, put them skin-side down on the hot skillet. (NOTE: I like to use all chicken thighs for this dish, because they're consistent in size and shape and because I like them. Feel free to substitute mixed chicken pieces or a cut-up whole chicken.)

2. Don't move the pieces for two or three minutes, to allow a brown crust to form. Shake the pan to break them loose if necessary, turn and brown on the other side for a few minutes. Cook for a total of 5 or 6 minutes on both sides until they're well-browned.

3. Put the chicken pieces skin-side up in a shallow roasting pan, 9-by-13 inches or large enough to hold the chicken comfortably, leaving any rendered fat behind in the skillet to discard or save refrigerated as a sauteeing fat. Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika, and bake for about a half-hour until they're crisp and dark golden-brown, shaking the pan once or twice to make sure the pieces don't stick. There's no need to turn them; leaving the skin on top throughout helps keep it crisp and grease-free.

4. Remove to paper towels to allow any additional fat to drain off, and serve.

MATCHING WINE: On the one hand, fried chicken isn't really a traditional dish with wine. On the other, it makes an easy match with a wide variety of wine styles, red or white, if you want to do it. I was happy with its affinity for a hearty young Argentine red, Altos 2005 "Las Hormigas" Mendoza Malbec.