By Key West’s Evangeline Washington

Nothing screams “summer” like homemade fried chicken and you’ll be hard pressed to find a scrummier recipe than this one from Key West!

2 Fresh chickens, cut up (31/2-4 lbs each)
6 Large key limes, juiced
3 Sour oranges, juiced
4 Large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Fresh, coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon red cayenne pepper
2 Eggs
1 Cup whole milk
Self-rising flour
Cooking oil (canola or peanut oil)

Rinse chicken parts thoroughly and place in a large, non-reactive container (either a glass or plastic bowl). Combine five ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to cook, remove chicken from refrigerator allowing enough time for chicken to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, combine eggs and milk. Place flour and pepper, to taste in a brown paper bag. Dip chicken parts in egg mixture until thoroughly coated. Place in brown paper bag, a few pieces at a time. Shake bag until chicken parts are completely coated with flour.

Heat oil to 350 degrees. Slowly place chicken in hot oil, a few pieces at a time, and fry until cooked. Be careful not to cook chicken too quickly. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil.

Serve immediately with black beans and rice and your favorite green salad.

Evangeline’s note: My father was Joseph Russell who made his living as a cook for several well-known residents of Key West, including Ernest Hemingway, William Freeman and John Spottswood. Some of the recipes I prepare today were learned from my father, my Godmother and my mother, Lydia. I have changed them only slightly over the years. This is one of my favorites.