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Sometimes, all you need is finger food. It's as simple and as uncomplicated as that. Forks, knives, and spoons are for more serious meals, more serious times, and tonight just isn't one of those nights. It's time to embrace the inner child, to save the veggies for tomorrow, and to keep that flatware set polished for another occasion.
These fries, which are tossed with lots of dried herbs and baked in a hot oven, take the same amount of time to come together as the chicken fingers do. The fingers, which have flavor snuck into every bit of their crisped-up, crunchy exterior, are cooked in a skillet and served hot with your favorite condiment. Napkins strongly recommended.
More: Still want to include some green in tonight's dinner? Whip up this simple arugula salad.
1/3? cup grated Parmesan
1? teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 ?pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into 1-inch strips and pounded gently until about 1/3 inch thick
4 medium potatoes, whole yellow or red
We're assuming you already have flour, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, dried coriander, 2 eggs, vegetable oil, butter, extra-virgin olive oil, chili powder, dried oregano, turmeric powder, mustard powder, mayonnaise, and sriracha. If not, be sure to add those to your shopping list, too.
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes into long, thin, rectangular pieces to mimic the standard French fry shape. (If you don't have a mandolin, just use a knife!)
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the raw potato pieces, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix well so that the potato pieces are fully covered by the spices.
4. Grease a large baking sheet with olive oil. Pour the contents from the mixing bowl onto the baking sheet and spread them out evenly.
5. Bake for 35 minutes. Be sure to move and rotate the potatoes with a spatula every 10 minutes to avoid too much sticking and burning.
6. While the fries are baking, start the chicken fingers: Put 1/2 cup flour in a wide, shallow dish, and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir through with a fork. Put 1 cup breadcrumbs in a second wide, shallow dish, add the Parmesan and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir through until everything is well combined.
7. Crack 2 eggs into a third dish and beat them lightly with a fork.
8. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels, and get out a large, clean plate. Coat each of the chicken strips with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Dip them in the egg mixture, and then in the breadcrumbs, pressing lightly so that the breadcrumbs adhere. As you finish each one, set it on the plate.
9. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter has finished foaming and just starts to brown, gently lay half of the chicken strips in the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown and crispy. Use tongs to turn them over and cook for another minute or two, until both sides are evenly browned and the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken fingers to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the chicken, adding more oil and another tablespoon of butter to the pan as needed.
10. When the fries are ready, sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt, if desired. To prepare the srirachannaise, in a small bowl, combine the sriracha sauce and mayonnaise. Mix until well blended. Add more or less of the ingredients to suit your taste. Serve the chicken fingers warm, alongside the fries, srirachannaise, and cold ketchup, if desired.