Not Fried Chicken

Dan here today.  Back in my East Coast days, I made my fair share of trips up and down I-95 (mostly for races, since I took Amtrak to and from school).  One of the highlights of the return trip was stopping at Maryland House (or was it Chesapeake House?  I can never remember which one) for a 3 piece chicken meal from Popeye’s (with a fluffy buttermilk biscuit of course.  Also, I may be overusing the parentheses today.  I’m feeling a bit parenthetical).  Anyway, now that I’m older, I’ve decide that the quantities of grease associated with such a meal are probably better in a car engine than in my arteries, but I still love that chicken.  Thus, you can probably imagine my pleasant surprise when a recipe Beth sent me (with the innocuous sounding title of  lemon and garlic salt crusted chicken) actually turned out to be a recipe for not fried chicken that tastes as good as the real thing with a fraction of the grease.  When I took my first bite, I almost felt compelled to rhapsodize about it, but that could just be because Beth and I have been watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother.  Beth actually thought it was a little too salty, so we might dial back on that a bit the next time we try it.  Anyway, here’s the recipe we used.  A quick estimate puts the total calories at 250 to 300 per thigh.  The original recipe also had the zest of one lemon in it, but I’ve left that out of subsequent iterations:
fried chicken7

4-6 chicken thighs
2 tsp salt flakes, pulverized (honestly, I think regular salt would work just as well here, although probably a little bit less)
2 tsp garlic salt (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt)
1/2 tsp paprika
1.75 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup flour

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 deg F.
2.  Combine the salt, paprika, and olive oil in a small bowl and spread a little over the top of each chicken thigh.
3.  Pour the flour into a small dish and dredge the chicken liberally in it.
4.  Place the chicken thighs on a rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  (Note, it is important to use a metal sheet that leaves plenty of room between the thighs.  The second time I tried this recipe, I made the mistake of using a glass baking dish and cramming the thighs in, and the skin turned into a mushy mess.)
5.  Bake for 40 minutes.