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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Strips: really.

I love Buffalo Chicken Wings. Love them. Ye Rustic in Los Feliz serves some of the best around if you can find a table and don't mind side stepping an occasional knife fight in the parking lot. Making them at home is another story. I, like many, do not have a fryer and don't really want to deal with cleaning up a vat of dirty cooking oil. And while I may receive the occasional mass email, I'm not the guy who will be supporting your "converted bio diesel Benz investment". You should've gone with the Prius . . . Hippie.

But the idea of bar food at home is appealing. After hearing tales of the relative ease of making Buffalo Chicken strips at home, I decided to fire up the stove. I credit a man named Czornobil(really) for the recipe and inspiration to fry where I have not fried before: the indoors.

Step up your game:

Panko bread crumbs.
If you ever have had Tonkatsu, you know that the Japanese have a knack for breading and frying. Short of setting up an egg wash and dredging chicken in mashed up corn flakes, this is a great, significantly crunchier, breadcrumb alternative.

Frank's Red Hot.
I have no fear of "off brand products" but for my first go around, I decided not to skimp, and went for what appeared to be the most authentic cayenne vinegar sauce in the supermarket. Frank's Red Hot(also recommended by Senor Czornobil) comes in varying heat levels and in hindsight I wished I had picked up the hotter one. But again for the first time around I figured go with the standard sauce and develop a good base line for experimentation.

All Clad skillet.

The 12 inch All Clad skillet may rival my 10 year old Cast Iron. Some may, and rightfully so, argue that spending $150 on a skillet is not necessary but when your skillet can produce this . . .

. . . cleans up with ease and weighs nearly half what the Cast Iron weighs, it is worth considering in your line up.

The chicken tenders were seasoned with a little salt and pepper, and a dried herb mix of oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary and sage. I tossed them in some olive oil and then dredged them in Panko. I coated the All Clad with a healthy amount of olive oil and when it started to smoke, I placed the tenders in the pan for about 3 minutes a side. I finished them off in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Now they were ready for their bath.

No bubbles in this bath. Just a 1/4 cup of Red Hot, 4 Tablespoons of melted butter and a little honey.

VoilĂ : a homemade gut bomb, with half the calories and 1/3rd the guilt. And more importantly you didn't even have to step into a Hooter's. If only March Madness were a month longer.

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