Chef Highlight: Eric Miller’s Mexican Fried Chicken Recipe

Mexican Fried Chicken from Rita Cantina
Eric Striffler

Eric Miller is the executive chef and co-owner of Rita Cantina in East Hampton. At Rita Cantina, Miller created a menu utilizing fresh and local ingredients, offering guests a curated take on modern Mexican cuisine. He brings his more than three decades of experience and skills as an executive chef and a proponent of the slow food, dock-to-dish and farm-to-table movements to his role at Rita Cantina. Chef Eric Miller applies his culinary philosophy and winning formula of sourcing the finest and freshest local flavors to the restaurant’s coastal Mexican cuisine, showcasing the best local ingredients at a reasonable price point, and creating an approachable restaurant for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.

Miller first came to the Hamptons to operate catering businesses, Food & Co. and Hampton Clambake. He opened his first restaurant out east, Madison and Main in Sag Harbor, and then went on to open Bay Kitchen & Bar in East Hampton, which he helmed with his son and business partner, Adam Miller, for over seven years. Chef Miller’s New York City restaurants include Cavo Café Lounge and Garden City Café, Tavola, Chianti, the Parker Meridien Hotel and Helmsley Palace Hotel, as well as Charlemagne in Aspen, Colorado. Outside of the kitchen, Chef Eric Miller can be found at the local farmers market and enjoying time with his dog at the park or beach.

Chef Eric Miller with his son, Chef Adam Miller, at Rita Cantina.
Chef Eric Miller with his son, Chef Adam Miller, at Rita Cantina Eric Striffler

Rita Cantina Spicy Mexican Fried Chicken
(two people)

—1 1/2 pound baby chicken—D’Artagnan or Joyce Farms, cut into four pieces

Brine the chicken one–two hours in:
—1/2 quart buttermilk
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
4 teaspoons mixed ground chilis—ancho, cayenne, chipotle, arbol

Place the chicken in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine corn flour
1/2 cup tapioca or corn starch

Mix well.

4 organic eggs, well beaten

Bring three cups of canola oil to 325 degrees in a cast iron pan.

Take the chicken from the brine and shake off excess liquid. Place in dredging mixture and coat very well. From there, place in the dredging mixture and coat very well. Place the dredged chicken in the egg wash, coat well. Place again in the dredging mixture, and coat well, pressing the mix into the chicken until it is fully coated. (We call this secret double-crusted chicken!)

Now place the chicken into the 325-degree canola oil and cook for four minutes. Lift out and let rest for two minutes. Then back in the oil for four more minutes. Lift out and let rest for four minutes. Then back in the oil for the final four minutes. Remove and let rest for five minutes.

Season with a sprinkle of your chili powders, salt and pepper. Plate and serve with your favorite summer side dish.

Learn more about Rita Cantina at

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