The most effective way to broaden ones culinary repertoire is to travel. In that vein, on a business trip to Argentina once, my husband discovered the fascinating fusion of Italian and South American cuisines in the form of a dish that etched itself in his memory, Chicken Milanesa. Such a profound impression it made on him that, usually a man of few words, he couldn't stop raving about the crispy fried chicken with lemon and capers over a bed of arugula - how light yet satisfying, how crunchy, comforting, tangy and just plain delicious it was. He decided to recreate it for us in our New York kitchen as newlyweds and eight years and one kid later, he has gone through several iterations of that beloved recipe. The version I am sharing with you today is the one we have finally settled on as a family favourite. Toddler of course loves it but so has every single kid who has ever dined on our family table. I encourage you to try this recipe and possibly discover your own new family favourite, from our kitchen to yours, with love and spice.
Crispy Chicken Tenders
Toddler, Kid, Adult
A Note On Old Bay Seasoning
Old Bay is a classic American spice blend that is particularly popular on the East Coast of the US as well as in the South. Created by a German immigrant in the 1930s in Maryland, it contains myriad spices like celery salt, bay leaf, black pepper, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg and more and, to it's many fans, is one of those immediately identifiable flavours you can't get enough of. Usually paired with crab or shrimp, my husband decided to try it to enliven his take on Chicken Milanesa and the results were rather satisfying. If you can't find Old Bay, you can use sweet Spanish paprika, salt and pepper for an equally pleasing effect.
2 adult and 2 kid servings (about 28 tenders)
For the chicken tenders
2 large chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
2.5 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 cup Japanese Panko breadcrumbs (regular will do if you can't find these)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme)
50 ml / scant 1/4 cup water
Coconut oil for frying
For the dipping sauce
1/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
Pinch dry thyme
3/4 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 lemon juiced
Mix all the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
Place the chicken breasts between two layers of cling film or parchment paper. Using a meat tenderiser or the flat section of a rolling pin. flatten the breasts into 1/4 inch thin cutlets. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. Slice into 4 inch by 1 inch strips. You should get 14-16 strips from each flattened chicken breast. Set aside.
Put the flour with 1.5 teaspoons old bay seasoning in a plate. Mix well. Next, whisk the egg and water together in a shallow, wide bowl and place next to the flour. In a third plate, place the breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons of Old Bay and the thyme and mix well.
Coat the chicken strips in flour, dusting off any excess. Transfer into the egg mixture coating well. Finally coat with the seasoned breadcrumbs and set aside on a plate.
Heat a thin film of coconut oil in a skillet on medium. Shallow fry the tenders for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with the yoghurt dipping sauce, our healthy, veggie packed paprika pomodoro or good ol' ketchup!