Chicken is a master of disguise. It transforms itself into so many recipes, it’s difficult to keep track. One evening it appears on the table whole and roasted, the following day it has morphed itself into a chicken salad with celery and onion and you are spreading it on bread for a tasty sandwich. The following week it turns up as Chicken Piccata. Pounded thin, breaded, and drizzled with a lemony white wine sauce, this dish is elegant enough for any dinner party. The next weekend it is cut into chunks and placed on skewers with some onions and peppers. A quick grill chars the outside and locks in its juicy flavors. In winter months it becomes the healing brew of Chicken Soup studded with carrots and onions and we feel warm and loved when we drink it. It disguises itself again in the form of comfort food in a Chicken Pot Pie. Its’ hot creamy contents spilling out of a golden crust whisk us back to childhood. Chicken will share the spotlight with mushrooms and pasta and a creamy sauce in Chicken Tetrazzini. And it will gracefully give a nod to tomatoes and wine in Chicken Cacciatore.
But chicken also likes to be on a plate all by itself. These chicken tenders can stand up for themselves. Please do not confuse them with frozen or fast food fare. These chicken tenders are lightly breaded and baked for a healthy version. Served with a garlicky sauce, it’s an adult version of a kid favorite. But do your child a favor and make them these healthy tenders instead of a frozen imposter out of a box. Chicken might be a master of disguise, but we don’t want it unrecognizable!
Parmesan Chicken Tenders
1 lb chicken tenders
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs (Japanese style)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup of mayo
1 lemon, juiced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tarragon
Salt to taste
Place chicken tenders in a bowl with the buttermilk and let stand about 30 minutes to marinate.
Place Panko, grated Parmesan, pepper, and thyme in a pie dish. Dredge each chicken tender in the mixture to coat thoroughly. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle them with the olive oil and place in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Finely mince the garlic cloves and combine with the mayo, lemon juice, salt and tarragon.
When tenders are done, arrange on a plate and serve the sauce on the side for dipping.