Thursday, January 27, 2011

chicken fingers

The every kid food: chicken nuggets

Here’s a crazy idea, instead of trying to get your kids to eat food you love, try eating something they love once in a while. Fingers, nuggets, strips… whatever you want to call them, kids love them. Have you ever made them at home? Without the use of the microwave? Or even the oven? So much better fried in a pan! What follows is an adaptation from Cooks Illustrated The Quick Recipe available at Let’s call it a master recipe that can be doctored up for any kid or grown-up. My daughter, Jane, who is 9, loves them with a side of slightly melted chocolate ice cream. Don't knock it until you try it! Tweeks for grown-ups at the end and always good with ketchup. 

Serving size: 2 – 3 kids, depending on appetite

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, tenderloins removed, dried well with paper towel and sliced into ¾ inch wide strips or nuggets, your choice
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Japanese panko breadcrumbs (Wholefoods brand or Ian’s are the best)
1 large egg
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
mild paprika and garlic powder optional

·      line up 3 bowls next to your work surface

Place flour in one, adding a pinch of salt, mix together to combine

Place the egg in one and beat it with a fork, add a pinch of salt

Place panko in the third bowl, along with a pinch of salt and a few shakes of paprika and garlic powder if you want, mix together to combine

Dip the chicken pieces first into the flour, shaking off all excess, then egg, then roll in panko, coating thoroughly

Heat the oil in a cast iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat to about 350 degrees (4-6 minutes), when surface of the oil looks shimmery, but not smoking

Lay the chicken in the oil and cook for two minutes, then turn and cook for two more minutes, until golden brown on both sides, place on a piece of paper towel to blot excess oil and serve with favorite condiments

For grown-ups, repeat process of coating with flour, egg and panko, but to make crust more interesting try adding any or all of the following:

Lemon zest, red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, grated parmesan

Then cook as noted above. For grown-ups, I prefer to serve with any of the following: Dijon mustard mixed with honey, home-made simple tomato sauce or home-made ranch dressing