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Jesse Friesen’s Piri Piri Fried Chicken Salad


Piri Piri Fried Chicken Salad from The Merchant Kitchen and Pizzeria Gusto Chef Jesse Friesen

Love fried chicken but trying to eat healthy?  You get the best of both worlds with this recipe from Chef Jesse Friesen of Winnipeg’s The Merchant Kitchen and Pizzeria Gusto. Your juicy chicken comes courtesy of a soy sauce, garlic, jalapeno and Club House French Mediterranean Sea Salt brine.  The spicy crunch comes from the liberal dose of tangy Club House Piri Piri.  Chicken salad just got a major upgrade.


Chicken Brine

Piri Piri Oil

Piri Piri Fried Chicken

Roasted Red Pepper Dressing


  • 4 ea Piri Piri Fried Chicken
  • 2 heads Butter leaf lettuce
  • 1 c Chickpeas, cooked
  • ½ c Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • 1 ea Avocado, sliced
  • 1 ea Jalapeno, diced
  • ½ c Red onion, pickled
  • ½ c Cilantro, sprigs
  • ½ c Roasted red pepper dressing
  • 4 lime wedges


For the Chicken Brine: Combine all ingredients into a pot and bring to a simmer. Strain the liquid into a container and place in the fridge to chill. Once completely chilled, add the chicken thighs to the brine and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove the chicken from brine and prepare to dredge.

For the Piri Piri Oil: Combine Club House Piri Piri Seasoning and oil in a mixing bowl and combine well.

For the Roasted Red Pepper Dressing: Add the roasted red peppers, garlic, cilantro, Billy Bee Honey, Club House Ground Cumin, Club House French Mediterranean Sea Salt, sugar and cider vinegar to a blender. Puree this mixture until smooth. While running the blender, very slowly add the canola oil to emulsify the dressing.

 For the Piri Piri Fried Chicken: Add the canola oil to a heavy pot, set on low, heat the oil until 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the chicken thighs into strips. Combine the flour, cornmeal, Club House Ground Cumin, Club House Piri Piri Seasoning, Club House French Mediterranean Sea Salt, and Club House Ground Black Pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and get a clean pan ready. In an assembly line, coat the chicken strips in the dredge and shake off the excess. Next, add to the buttermilk to coat the chicken thoroughly. Add back to the dredge and press down firmly to completely coat. Add the dredged chicken pieces to the clean pan. Repeat this step until all chicken is dredged. Fry the chicken in the oil for approximately 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Once the chicken is cooked, using a brush, lightly brush the Piri Piri oil on the chicken while it is still hot. The fried chicken will become red and vibrant with a lovely spicy aroma.

For Serving: Hand tear the butter leaf lettuce and portion among 4 bowls. Lightly drizzle the roasted red pepper dressing on the lettuce. Top the lettuce with chickpeas, queso fresco, pickled red onion, avocado and cilantro sprigs. Place the Piri Piri fried chicken beside the salad. Finish with a lime wedge.

For more flavourful inspiration, visit

Photo: @JoshTeeWhy

Chef Jesse Friesen
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