Healthy cooking

A no-fry take on Buffalo wings

 

Main dish

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Tabasco Chipotle), divided

2 cups plus 6 tablespoons buttermilk, divided

1 pound chicken tenders (or chicken breasts cut into 3-by-1-inch strips, 1/2-inch thick)

3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, salt, 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce and 2 cups of the buttermilk. Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 10 hours.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat it with cooking spray.

In a shallow bowl combine the Italian and panko bread crumbs. In another small bowl, whisk the remaining 6 tablespoons buttermilk with the mayonnaise, blue cheese and lemon juice. Transfer to a ramekin for dipping. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of hot sauce into a second ramekin for dipping.

Use a colander to drain the chicken, but do not pat it dry. Dip each piece in the bread crumb mixture, making sure it is coated well on both sides. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, then spritz the tops with cooking spray.

Bake on the oven’s middle shelf for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until just cooked through. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a platter. Serve with both dipping sauces. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 300 calories, 80 calories from fat (27 percent of total calories), 9 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 80 mg cholesterol, 22 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 33 g protein, 1,120 mg sodium.


Associated Press

There are three reasons we love fried food. First, it’s moist and juicy. Second, the crust is crispy. And third – and this is a well-kept secret – anything cooked in fat tastes better than because fat amplifies flavor even if you don’t taste the fat itself.

My biggest challenge in creating a healthy take on Buffalo wings was to construct a crisp crust without deep-frying the chicken.

I started with chicken tenders, those little flaps of chicken meat attached to the underside of each chicken breast. They’re as meaty as boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but cheaper because they’re smaller, and because of a tough little tendon that runs down the middle of each tender.

I tenderized them – including the tendon – by soaking in buttermilk. I flavored the buttermilk with garlic and my favorite smoky hot sauce (Tabasco Chipotle), then threw in a hefty pinch of salt to create a brine.

The chicken luxuriated in this buttermilk bath for several hours, after which I coated it with a mixture of bread crumbs and panko (for extra crunch). Instead of frying, I spritzed it with cooking spray and baked it.

If it is not quite as crispy as a fried version, it is nonetheless ridiculously flavorful. I achieved this effect by adding a blue cheese dipping sauce, which borrows one of the trademark ingredients of Buffalo chicken wings.

Sara Moulton hosts public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and is the author of three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”

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