I like to think of these as the Jewish/kosher version of pork rinds. Gribenes, rendered/ fried chicken skins, are a delicacy of the past I had always heard of, but one of those things I never really had the opportunity to try. I would hear from those of an older generation how they used to eat amazing pastrami-on-rye sandwiches shmeared with shmatlz (rendered chicken fat) and stuffed or topped with gribenes. I thought gribenes were long gone from Jewish fare (as it is well known not to be the healthiest dining option) and it was not until I got to New York that I realized that these are still being enjoyed by those looking for a heimishe 'bite'. Traditionally cooked in it's own fat (shmaltz), this recipe is a short-cut (or a southern take) on the deli-classic and employes deep frying the skins.
The amount of oil and onion you need to use depends on how much chicken skins you will be preparing. Make sure that you heat up enough oil to cover the skins you will be frying. Heat oil in a medium to large pot, over a medium-high flame. Test to make the heat is high enough using an onion (which should "sizzle" right away and begin frying once its dropped in). Carefully add (oil POPS!) the remaining onions and the chicken skins and fry for 10-15 minutes, or until skins are thoroughly cooked and a light- medium golden brown color. Remove the gribenes from the oil using a slatted ladle and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate, to drain the fat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy with sandwiches, mashed potatoes, soups, or by themselves.