At GBD in Washington, DC, chef Kyle Bailey marinates chicken tenders in a mix of sweet and savory herbs and spices, giving this childhood favorite a sophisticated edge. Panko-breaded and fried, these are the best homemade chicken fingers: juicy, tender and exceptionally crispy.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 pounds chicken tenders
3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 large egg whites
Canola oil, for frying
Kohlrabi Slaw, for serving
How to Make It
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce with the vinegar, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of the garlic powder. Add the chicken tenders, seal the bag and turn to coat. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the panko with the salt, onion powder, black pepper and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder and pulse until the panko is finely ground. Transfer the seasoned crumbs to a pie plate. In another pie plate, beat the egg whites until foamy.
Remove the chicken tenders from the marinade, scraping off any solids. Pat the chicken tenders dry with paper towels and transfer them to a wax paper–lined baking sheet. Dip the tenders in the egg whites, letting the excess drip back into the pie plate, then dredge them in the seasoned crumbs. Transfer the chicken tenders to the baking sheet.
Set a rack over another baking sheet. In a large skillet, heat 1/3 inch of canola oil until shimmering. Working in two batches, fry the chicken tenders over moderately high heat, turning once, until they are well-browned and crisp, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer the tenders to the rack to drain. Serve with Kohlrabi Slaw.
Chardonnay aged in a little oak tends to have a nice spice note—a good complement to these fragrant chicken tenders. Pour one from Sonoma.
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