If given a choice, use small legs for this preparation—they must be eaten with fingers, and finger bowls will be appreciated. Ordinarily, they are only floured before being sautéed—one must nurse them constantly and they still often stick (not that that is a disaster—they are still good). Dipped in egg, they will not stick while cooking and they are, I think, at least as good in their thin, batter-like crust. If you do not have a pan large enough to contain them all without crowding, side by side, you should use the two largest pans you have.
Season the legs, dredge them in flour (tossing in a paper bag to save mess), toss them in a sieve to rid them of excess flour, dip each in beaten egg, and drop into hot oil. As they begin to color—they will cook rapidly and the flame should be kept high, or relatively so, depending on their progress—toss them, gently turning over those that do not flip with the tines of a fork. Continue tossing regularly until lightly colored and crispened—5 or 6 minutes in all, add the persillade, and toss repeatedly for another minute. Turn out onto a hot serving platter, leaving behind any excess oil, and sprinkle the surface with lemon juice (some people add a small handful of breadcrumbs just after adding the persillade—they soak up the oil and give more body to the dish).
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.