As the classic children's book says, if you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want some milk to go with it. Well, if you give a Jourdan some french fries (carrot or otherwise), she's going to want, nay, DEMAND some chicken fingers to go with them.
Sophisticated gourmet that I am, chicken fingers really are one of my all-time favorite foods (category: comfort), right up there with mac and cheese - boxed, mac and cheese - homemade, my mom's chicken soup, or... Damn it, I'm really hungry now.
There was no way I was going to give you guys that carrot fries recipe without also providing you with chicken fingers. That would just be downright rude of me. Especially since these "healthy" chicken fingers are so good. Baking things instead of frying often leads to a loss of some of the crunch factor, but these chicken fingers, which are coated in panko breadcrumbs, really do not lose anything in being baked, I promise. I would not lie to you about something as important as chicken fingers.
These were so good that Adam and I both went back for seconds. And some of us who shall remain unnamed went back for thirds. These chicken fingers are crunchy and salty and they have a little zingyness (definitely not a word) from the mustard in the batter. In fact, I think the only thing I'll do differently when I make these again is toast the breadcrumbs a little bit longer. Like I said, they were perfectly crunchy, but I'd like them to be a bit more browned for a real, fully immersive chicken finger experience. It certainly didn't stop these from being ridiculously delicious though.
Ok, fine, I admit it, I was the one who went back for thirds.
Crunchy Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers
Serves 3, if you're a better person than me
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chicken fingeresque pieces
- 1 3/4 c. panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tbsp mustard (I used dijon, but you can try another variety)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Olive oil spray (or other oil spray)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with tin foil, and place a rack on top if you have one (it's not necessary, but it helps get the chicken really crunchy on all sides).
- Combine egg, mayonnaise, mustard, flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat, then add breadcrumbs. Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes, or until they're golden brown and your entire kitchen smells like toast. Remove from heat and put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl or plate.
- Add your naked chicken fingers to the bowl of batter, toss to get everything coated evenly.
- One at a time, pick up chicken fingers and shake to remove excess batter, then roll in the panko until they're fully coated. Transfer to baking sheet.
- Once all of the chicken is dressed, I like to sprinkle another handful of the remaining panko over everything, just to ensure that there are no bald spots on the chicken.
- Spray everything lightly with the oil spray and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Serve immediately with your favorite condiments. I find these to be the perfect vehicle for Frank's Red Hot sauce.