Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chicken Fingers: A How-To

A disclaimer up front: I am not the person you want to be showing you how to cook things. I am clearly still learning (as Steven can wildly and openly attest) and there are plenty of things that I have no idea how to do.

BUT! Fried chicken fingers is not one of those things. I grew up in Atlanta, folks. Home of Coca-Cola and sweet tea, with a Waffle House on every corner. I was born to do fried chicken.

So here is a brief tutorial on how to make my (Not-Yet-Famous-But-Give-It-A-Few-Years) Breaded Chicken Fingers.

Start with chicken tenderloins. You can use breast meat too, but tenderloins are already the right size and shape. No knife skillz required.

(PS - I defy you to take a good-looking picture of raw chicken. Not gonna happen.)

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Give the chicken a light coat of flour. (I have a succession of plates lined up like an assembly plant. It works pretty well -- I just progress from plate to plate with each chicken tender until they are all breaded and ready to fry.)

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Once the tender is coated with flour, dip the tender into an egg wash. I use one egg plus maybe 1/4 cup water or less. More chicken = more eggs and water. Its fried chicken, not rocket science.

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Then on to plate number three, where we mix together Italian Bread Crumbs with some various seasonings. I think I used salt, pepper, and some Mrs. Dash seasoning. Roll the chicken tender around in the crumbs until it is covered with breading.

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Line up your little breaded chicken pieces on a clean plate at the end of the assembly line.

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Now its time for the scary part. Fill a skillet with about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil. (Olive oil would be great but really expensive to use here.) Heat the oil on medium heat until it sizzles when you let a drop of water fall into the oil.

Lay your breaded chicken tenders gently, ever so gently into the hot oil. If you have a splatter screen, now is the time to use it. These babies can really spit and it HURTS if you are too close to the stove. (Alternatively, you could turn down the heat if it is really splattering badly.)

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I usually fry them for 2-3 minutes per side. You can tell they are done when you can't easily smush the middles down with a fork. They will feel firm to the fork, not soft and jiggly. (When in doubt, cook a little longer. Nobody likes pink chicken.)

Set out a plate with a paper towel on top, and when your chicken has finished cooking in the oil, you can lay the sizzling fried tenders onto the paper towel to soak up any extra oil.

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Let them cool a bit, then serve them up any way you please! The most recent time we had these, I made them part of a chicken parmegiana dish.

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Not half bad, right? This is very Steven-friendly food. I bought Panko breadcrumbs at the store last weekend, as I've heard they make for a delicious breading. I'll let you know how that goes.

Now, go forth my children, and fry some chicken.

5 comments:

Kristen said...

I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE your blog! I can't even remember how I came across it a few months ago, and I feel like a total freak, but I'm a huge Steele fan! You have an awesome sense of humor and I love the way you write! I've tried a few of your recipes and you've even inspired me to get out in the garden! Blogs are a bizarre thing - normally I wouldn't give a flip about some stranger's life, but I love checking to see what you've written next!
Kristen
Austin, TX

whatsthedeal said...

Thanks Kristen! Blogs are rather bizarre, but I am following like 42,000 random strangers' blogs, so I don't have room to talk in that arena. :) Thanks again for reading -- I really enjoy writing it, so its good to know folks actually read it. Clicking over to read your blog now!

- H

Mom said...

Your chicken parmegiana plate looks fantastic! I've got to try that entire meal!

You ARE Inspiring!

Love always,
Mom

Steven said...

Yum!! This was SOOO good. One of your best recipes. Maybe someone should start thinking about publishing a recipe book??

tracy said...

This looks like a Dan-approved meal, too.