Since college, my friends here have occasionally brought up the buffalo chicken tenders in conversation. Everyone’s eyes glaze over, and we express our determination to find “another Yorkside” in Seattle. That mission has failed. I thought about trying to make the chicken tenders myself, but buffalo sauce seemed like an intangible entity, something made in restaurants with chemicals that one could never recreate at home. Who knew that buffalo sauce is actually just hot sauce? There was also the obstacle of the frying. The last time I tried to fry some chicken in a pan, I ended up with a splatter of burns on both arms. Then came another revelation: my friend Dan is the proud owner of a “Fry Daddy.” There was no longer anything but a few hours of work between me and buffalo chicken tenders.
I found this recipe at Chow, and the picture looked crispy and delicious. It also had a fancy blue cheese coleslaw to go with it, which sounded pretty good. I got all the ingredients together and headed out to the suburbs for a party with Dan’s deep fryer. I’m reprinting the recipe below, the way I made it. For a slightly larger recipe, and instructions for pan frying, see the original Chow recipe. The coleslaw recipe will follow in the next post.
Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Adapted from Chow.com
Makes about 25 tenders
3 pounds chicken tenders
3 cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Canola oil or peanut oil for frying
1 1/2 cups (1 bottle) Frank’s RedHot
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1. Cut the chicken breasts into 1-1/2-inch-wide strips.
2. Heat the oven to 200°F. Turn on the deep fryer and fill with oil to the appropriate height.
3. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Place flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in three separate shallow dishes. Coat 4 or 5 chicken tenders with flour. Tap off any excess, then dip in the eggs, then the breadcrumbs, being sure to get an even coating. Place breaded chicken on a large plate or baking sheet. To avoid soggy breading, it’s best to bread just a few tenders at a time right before you cook them, rather than doing all of them in advance.
4. Add 4-5 chicken strips to the hot oil in the deep fryer, and cook for 5-6 minutes. When they are done, place them on a baking sheet (preferably lined with a cooling rack), and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep the strips warm in the oven.
5. Repeat steps 3-4 until all the strips are done. Don’t stack them on the baking sheet in the oven, or they will become soggy.
6. Combine hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is completely melted.
7. Put chicken tenders in a bowl (probably a few at a time) and pour the sauce over them. Toss, and serve immediately.
Blue Cheese Dip
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
1 cup sour cream
Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and milk to taste
Stir the blue cheese into the sour cream, and add milk until dip reaches the desired thickness. Add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to taste.