When we lived in Calgary, it seemed like we went out for beer ‘n wings nearly every week. Which is a pretty bad habit to get into, let me tell ya. Thanks to Cook’s Illustrated‘s Buffalo Wing recipe, I discovered I could make pretty awesome wings myself using my KitchenAid enamel-coated cast iron pots and a deep-fry thermometer instead of a deep-fryer, I realized it was a very dangerous skill to acquire, not the least of the danger being me vs. the smoke detector. (But for real, if you’re not on the America’s Test Kitchen bandwagon, you have to check it out – almost every recipe I’ve tried in Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country has turned out perfectly, and perfectly good!)
In an effort to find something equally as satisfying as chicken wings but far less…artery-clogging, shall we say, I searched CI again for the perfect oven-baked chicken recipe. And of course they had one!
I tweaked it quite a bit – most noticeably, I slice up chicken breasts instead of leaving them whole so we have kind of a fun ‘pub-style’ feel to the meal (and Jon can dunk the tenders in as much blue-cheese dressing and hot sauce as he wants) – but the method is pretty much the same. I’ve recently started using panko-style bread crumbs instead of the Melba toast the original recipe suggests, although Melba toast is fantastic as well.
OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN TENDERS – adapted from ‘Oven-Fried Chicken Breasts’ from Cook’s Illustrated, July 15, 2008
- 3 packages plain Melba toast processed in food processor to coarse crumbs OR 1/3 box of panko bread crumbs
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp dry Italian seasoning
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed & sliced into strips
- Vegetable cooking spray
- Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Spread the crumbs in a shallow dish and toss with the oil.
- In a separate shallow dish, whisk the egg whites, mustard, Italian seasoning, garlic, and cayenne together.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Working with one piece of chicken at time, dip it into the egg white mixture, then coat with the crumbs. Press on the crumbs to make sure they adhere to the chicken. Lay the chicken on the wire rack and spray the tops with vegetable oil spray.
- Bake until the coating is golden, the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.