Posted by: Maggie
Surely some of you are thinking, "Chicken fingers? Has Maggie regressed to childhood?" I assure you that I have not, and I'm here to tell you how to turn a traditional kid's meal into a fancy grown-lady meal in 4 easy steps:
1) Make it from scratch. Who needs dinosaur-shaped mystery chicken? Not you! I made these last night after only eating a granola bar all day, and was really tempted to just buy frozen chicken fingers. I'm so glad I didn't. These take about 20 minutes worth of effort, and the results are a million times tastier than the frozen kind.
2) Serve with a snazzy dipping sauce - not ketchup. I like ketchup as much as the next gal, but my favorite honey mustard or some homemade BBQ sauce will elevate chicken fingers from kid food, to fancy grown-lady cuisine.
3) Enjoy your chicken fingers while watching something wildly inappropriate, and meant for grown-ladies on TV. 20 years ago, I would've eaten chicken fingers while watching Full House or Clarissa Explains it all. Last night, I enjoyed them while finally watching the first two episodes of Girls. You think Clarissa Darling had problems? Girlfriend had nothing on Hannah Horvath.
4) Last but not least, wash your chicken fingers down with a beer. Duh.
Here's what you'll need:
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch wide strips (I trimmed the excess fat off mine, sliced off about an inch from the flat, narrow end of the breast, and cut into 4 even strips.)
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. In a large skillet, combine the panko and canola oil. Turn the heat on to medium-high, and toast breadcrumbs for 8-10 minutes, until golden-brown. Stir frequently to ensure that they don't burn! Transfer the crumbs to a shallow dish and set aside.
In a separate shallow dish, mix together flour, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne, and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites, water, Dijon mustard, and thyme.
Place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet, and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Dredge one chicken strip in flour, then egg mixture, and lastly in the breadcrumbs, shaking off excess in between steps. Place coated chicken on prepared rack, and repeat with remaining strips.
If you're like me and find breading food to be a colossal pain in the tookus, here are some tips:
- Leave the water slowly running while you bread the chicken. Yes, it's wasteful, but it really helps if you rinse the egg and panko clumps from your fingers in between breading each piece. The reason I suggest leaving the sink on is to avoid cross contamination between the chicken and the faucet.
- Use 2 dishes for the breadcrumbs. Keep the majority of the breadcrumbs in a larger dish, and before breading each strip, transfer a small handful to a saucer, and bread the strip there. That way, you can avoid getting big clumps of egg mixed in with all the breadcrumbs.
After all the chicken is breaded, spray the tops lightly with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven to 12-16 minutes, and serve immediately.
(Update on 5/1: These are excellent leftover! Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Flip over halfway through.)
Source: Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, via Annie's Eats