This baked version is just as tasty as the traditional fried chicken (if not more delicious) and far less artery clogging. Coating the chicken legs in homemade aïoli (or even a mock version using store-bought mayonnaise and a touch of garlic) before breading them adds an additional, unique layer of flavor. Varying the type of aïoli—from lime to lemon caper to tomato and hot pepper changes the flavor profile of the chicken entirely. Master this one recipe and you’ll have countless new meals to enjoy.
For the lime aïoli
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup vegetable, canola, corn, or safflower oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
For the oven-fried chicken legs
1-1⁄2 cups dried homemade breadcrumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 tsp. dried thyme
1⁄2 tsp. paprika
6 whole chicken legs (2-1⁄2 to 3 lb. total)
Make the lime aïoli
Add the yolk and mustard to a small bowl. Combine the olive oil and vegetable oil in a liquid measuring cup. Add 1 Tbs. of the combined oils to the yolk and mustard and whisk together until an emulsion is formed. Drop by drop, add the remaining oil to the emulsion, whisking constantly. Continue to do this, drop by drop, in a steady stream, whisking, until all of the oil has been added. Do not add the oil too quickly, and be sure that the emulsion is homogeneous before adding more oil. Season with garlic, lime juice, and salt.
Make the oven-fried chicken
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Place the breadcrumbs, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, thyme, and paprika in a large bowl.
Place the lime aïoli in a bowl with the chicken legs and toss to coat. Place the chicken in the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture and coat well. Place the chicken on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake until the juices run clear, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.