Picnic Chicken Tenders

rsz_picnic_chicken_tenders

Stephanie’s Picnic Chicken Tenders

Stephanie Delaney was my neighbor last summer when I was in Maine. She was stretching her culinary wings, and I was the lucky recipient of her many triumphs. When she shared this fried boneless chicken, I knew I had to have the recipe. Although it’s delicious hot, this is the perfect fried chicken to tote for a picnic because the taste of the seasoning still remains after chilling. Fried chicken aficionados, including John T. Edge, author of Fried Chicken: An American Story, claim that in order to call chicken fried, it must have a bone, and I had agreed. Until I tasted Stephanie’s.

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins

1 quart buttermilk

2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1 1⁄2 tablespoons Lawry’s seasoning salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons Grill Masters Montreal Chicken Seasoning

2 large eggs

Canola or other oil for frying

 

Pat the chicken dry and place it in a large resealable plastic bag. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Reserve the remaining buttermilk.  When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to near room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients. Fit two rimmed baking sheets with wire racks and set aside. Stir the flour, bread crumbs, and seasonings together in a large bowl. Place 3⁄4 cup of the mixture in a large plate and place the remainder in a large plastic bag. Lightly beat the egg and the remaining buttermilk together in a medium bowl. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, then dip in the egg mixture. Place half of the chicken in the bag with the flour mixture and shake to cover evenly. Remove the chicken with tongs, shaking off any excess flour mixture, to the prepared rack. Repeat with remaining chicken. Let rest for 10 minutes. Fill a heavy skillet or Dutch oven with oil to a depth of 1–1 1⁄2 inches and heat it to 325°. Fry the breasts, two at a time, very gently turning with tongs, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165° on an instant-read thermometer. As the chicken is cooked, remove it to the second prepared rack. Serve hot or leave to cool, then refrigerate loosely covered with wax paper. Keep it cold until serving.

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