All you have to do is say the words "chicken fingers" and a person's face invariably lights up. You can practically see the fond memories flashing before their eyes -- birthday parties, roadtrips, and sleep overs all included. Merrill's chicken fingers are everything you remember, except they actually taste better -- and you don't have to be a kid to enjoy them. The secret to the perfect, crispiest crust is the addition of Parmesan cheese and oregano to the breadcrumb mixture, and we promise --there's not a soggy finger around.
1/2 cup all purpose flour Salt and pepper 1 cup dry breadcrumbs (panko works well) 1/3 cup grated Parmesan 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano 2 large eggs 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 tablespoons butter 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into 1-inch strips and pounded gently until about 1/3-inch thick
1. Put the flour in a wide, shallow dish and season generously with salt and pepper -- stir through with a fork.
2. Put the 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.
3. Crack the eggs into a third dish and beat them lightly with the fork.
4. 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.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy skillet (I like to use cast iron) over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the 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 butter to the pan as needed. Serve the chicken fingers warm. (It reheats well in a 250-degree oven the next day.)