Panko Chicken Fingers and Black Bean and Corn Salad

Chicken fingers for dinner? Looks like we went to Applebee's for an exciting evening out on the town. No. Don't be so silly.  This is the most requested entree of My Middle One. I could give it some more grandiose sounding name like Tenders au Poulet in an Asian Inspired Crust. But hey. Let's call a spade a spade.

I'm not big on the idea of deep frying. I don't like the smell which permeates the house. But every once in a while I will give in to the constant requests. As I sample the first batch of chicken fingers, I remember how much I like the taste of deep fried foods.

The most time consuming and messy part of preparing Panko Chicken Fingers is the breading. To keep the gooey fingers to a minimum, use a fork to move the chicken from the egg to the panko. I served up a quick side of Black Bean and Corn Salad. As you might guess, my three amigos had applesauce. My daughters also like to dip the chicken fingers in a concoction of ketchup, ranch dressing and honey. I'll pass.

Any leftover chicken fingers reheat beautifully.  They will crisp up when you heat them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Panko Chicken Fingers

serves 4

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko, these are Japanese bread crumbs that are really crunchy
oil for frying

Salt and pepper the chicken. Set up your dredging station. Put the flour in one shallow plate, the eggs in another shallow plate, and the panko in a third one. Set a large cookie sheet out for the finished product. Add some salt and pepper to the flour. Dip the chicken first in the flour, then the egg and, lastly the panko. Gently shake off the excess. Lay out on cookie sheet. Continue until all chicken is coated. If you can multi-task, have your oil heated to about 350 degrees (a few panko crumbs will brown up quickly when the oil is ready) and fry the chicken a few pieces at a time. It takes about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the oil and drain on a large baking sheet lined with a few layers of paper towels.  Season immediately with salt. This is the only way to get the seasoning to stick. Salt for some and my favorite chipotle seasoning for the rest. Keep warm in 200 degree oven while you fry up the rest of the chicken.

To make a spicy dip, mix some of the chipotle with mayo and a little sour cream.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 can (14 ounces) black beans
1 cup corn, frozen is ok, thawed
1 rib celery, diced small
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, diced small
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
hot sauce to taste
dash of cumin

Drain and rinse the beans. Put in a bowl and add corn, celery, onion and, red pepper. Toss. Add olive oil and vinegar. Toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients to your liking. Also great as a salsa for tortilla chips.


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