Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders
Last night we made one of our favorite dishes: Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders. As I was planning this post, I struggled with what to call the dish, since so many of the things that make it tasty don't make for great recipe titles. Namely, this dish gets a lot of its spark from Panko flakes (Japanese style bread crumbs), Lawry's Seasoned Salt, and of course any special sauces you might use for dipping.
I know chicken tenders are not fancy, but these have an excellent flavor and I think they're a notch above the usual. Here's how you make them:
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1-2 cups Panko flakes (Japanese style bread crumbs)
1/8 to 1/4 cup Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or use whatever amount seems right to you)
black pepper, to taste
6-8 cups vegetable oil
1. Slice the chicken into long thin strips about the size of your finger or perhaps a bit wider. The size isn't crucial; cut them however you'd like.
2. Place chicken and buttermilk in a plastic bag. Add a generous sprinkling of Lawry's to the bag. We probably add about 1/16 or 1/8 of a cup at this point. Close the plastic bag, massage the chicken mixture so that all the pieces are fully coated with the buttermilk and Lawry's and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2-12 hours. I usually just have mine marinate for about 2-4 hours and that always works fine.
3. Place the vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan or cast iron pot. Use enough oil to completely cover the chicken. Heat the oil until it's 350 or 375 degrees.
4. While your oil is heating, prep your chicken for frying. Put your Panko flakes into a large, shallow bowl and add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of Lawry's and some fresh ground pepper to taste. (We like a lot of Lawry's in ours; you might want to be more sparing.) Remove the chicken tenders from the bag one at a time and shake off excess buttermilk. Take each and coat on both sides with the Panko flake mixture. Place the coated chicken on a plate and now you're ready to fry them up.
5. Gently place your chicken tenders into the hot oil. Fry until the chicken is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cooking times will depend on how thick your chicken is and the temperature of your oil, so just check the chicken to ensure that it is done before serving.
6. When chicken is done, remove from the pan and set pieces on a plate lined with paper towels. The towels will help catch some of the excess oil. When this process is done, place your chicken on a serving plate and enjoy!
As I mentioned above, Panko flakes and Lawry's are what makes these chicken tenders so distinctive. Panko flakes give the dish a delicious crunch and nice texture. The Lawry's provides just the right amount of "oomph" that makes these a winner.
As you can tell from the photo at the top, we like to serve ours with a wide array of dipping sauces. Last night's sauces included:
*Sumpao Boat Sweetened Chili Sauce for Spring Rolls from Thailand
*Terrapin Ridge Wasabi Mustard
*Pepper Creek Farms Red Bell Pepper Jelly
*American Spoon's BBQ Mustard
*Laurent du Clos Dijon Mustard
*Frank's Red Hot Sauce
*Woeber's Horseradish Sauce
*Mrs. Dog's Disappearing Mustard
We just try a dab of this and a dab of that to see what tastes good. My absolute favorite is the Thai chili sauce. I also like the Mrs. Dog's mustard a lot. It's sweet, hot and spicy all at once. As an aside, several of our mustards came from the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. Win brought them home after a trip through Wisconsin and if you're a big mustard fan you might want to check out their offerings.
As I mentioned at the start, there's nothing fancy or complicated about chicken tenders but this recipe has such a great lift from the buttermilk, the Panko and the Lawry's that I felt it worth sharing. It's easy, relatively fast and great as party snacks, an appetizer, or a main course. It's also very kid friendly.
Next time: We Love it When Pigs Fly