These crispy buffalo chicken tenders are seriously everyone’s favorite appetizer and dinner! Read on for the secret to making them super crispy like your favorite restaurant, for half the calories!
If I know you as well as I think I do–which is technically speaking not at all–then you can’t live without a crispy chicken finger. The basis of this judgment has been drawn from my conclusion that all living, breathing organisms have innate tendencies to seek three very crucial things: water, air, and buffalo chicken.
I draw all types of scientific conclusions.
Next time I’ll tell you about the theory of relativity as illustrated through cupcakes.
But today, we turn our bright eyes to the chicken finger. The crisp-crusted, moist and tender-middled, fiery red sauce-slathered, the someone-get-me-a-bib-and-for-cryin’-out-loud-where’s-the-damn-blue-cheese-dip?!?…chicken finger.
Here’s my methodology: Lots of healthy chicken tenders are baked. I get that. I appreciate that. And I love comfort food makeovers. Really I do.
But I’ve never bitten into a baked tender that altogether satisfied my intense cravings for foods that end in cutesy words like stix and dippers, and generally any soul-soothing noshable at a pub.
So I don’t want to solely bake these chicken fingers. But I don’t want to fully fry them either. What I’ve discovered is the magic of partially pan-frying. To do this, I cook the chicken a little more than halfway on the stove top in a modest amount of oil because I want a browned and crisped crust, but don’t necessarily want them to be drenched in oil, as tempting as that may be. The reason I don’t cook them completely in the pan is because that would require them staying in the hot pan for a lengthy amount of time, and unless I use a lot of oil, the fingers have a tendency to burn.
The beauty is that I’m still developing that golden brown, faintly greasy crust, and the tenders stay on the healthier side of things. Searing the breading on both sides allows me to lock in the moisture of the bird while still developing a crunchy coating. I then finish them in the oven so that they cook through. And then I dunk them in spicy, orange-hued hot sauce and dip them in creamy, cool blue cheese dressing.
Just come over and I’ll make you some. We’ll watch Bill Nye and talk science.