Breaking Bad had people wishing Los Pollos Hermanos was as pervasive as McDonald's, and Gus Fring was an amazing stoic villain. We're getting more of him on Better Call Saul, and there's lots of publicity to go with it (it's even coming to life!). Although that restaurant seemed more like a bone-in chicken type of joint, I was in the mood to eat some tenders. I'm not shy about my dislike for cooking with hot oil, so I dove yet again into oven frying. I found this great easy recipe that's practically fast food (minus marinading time), and they taste just as good as anything you'd get off a restaurant menu.
As a kid, I pretty much exclusively ate chicken fingers, so I've eaten a lot in my life, and these are definitely going in my arsenal when it comes to a good appetizer, snack or comfort food meal. The pictures aren't the most beautiful because most of the process involves moving the chicken from bag to bag, but that's proof of how easy it is. I can't say they're as indulgent as biting into a freshly fried chicken leg, but frankly, they're as good as the next best thing.
Oven Fried Chicken Tenders
inspired by Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad
makes 7-10 pieces (half recipe if closer to 5, use this recipe if closer to 10)
- 5-10 chicken tenderloins
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
Mix salt, chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, paprika and onion powder together in a bag or small bowl. In a large freezer bag, combine 1 tbsp of the spice mixture with buttermilk and add the raw chicken. Marinate in refrigerator for 6-24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add butter to the pan and melt in oven. Remove the baking sheet once the butter is melted. Mine pooled, so I brushed it out over the parchment paper so it was an even layer.
Combine flour, panko, cornmeal and remaining spice mixture in another freezer bag (if you have a bigger batch of chicken, mix in a bowl because it will be divided up). Transfer chicken from marinade bag to breading bag, removing excess marinade in between. Divide into two parts if you're using a big batch of chicken. Shake the breading around in the bag and press the breadcrumbs into the chicken to coat.
Bake chicken for 10-12 minutes until golden, flip and bake 5 more minutes. Broil if you want some extra golden crispiness for however long it takes to achieve that, serve and enjoy. Coat or pair with your favorite dipping sauce for the maximum chicken finger experience.
recipe from Carlsbad Cravings.
[made while watching The West Wing (season 7).]