Some of the best-tasting chicken we get in North Carolina comes via FedEx from Frank Reese in Kansas. Whenever I splurge and get some for Lantern, I make a big batch of fried chicken in a deep cast-iron skillet, slowly browning it in a few inches of rendered pork fat. Lard makes the best possible fried chicken and blissfully contains more of what is good for you and less of what is bad than most vegetable oils. It produces crisp, nutty, and nearly greaseless fried chicken that is of course perfect eaten hot but still remarkable at room temperature. Tonight we're having it for dinner with green beans with garlicky bread crumbs and a berry pudding. This weekend, I'll make some to take to a picnic, along with potato salad made with hard-boiled eggs and diced pickles, spiked with pickle juice.

Andrea Reusing is chef at Lantern in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and author of Cooking In The Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes (Clarkson Potter, 2011)