Friday, June 7, 2013

Crispy Coconut Almond Chicken Tenders

Coconut is the flavor of summertime in my book. At the first signs of warmer weather, I am downing coconut flavored iced coffees (don't knock it 'til you try it). Pina Coladas are a pretty good indication of summertime as well, and that's coconut mixed with RUM. YES!

These Crispy Coconut Almond Chicken Tenders are a fun and healthier twist on traditional chicken fingers. Instead of using breadcrumbs and all-purpose flour, thin chicken breast tenders are coated in unsweetened coconut flakes and almond flour. I pan-fried mine in a bit of extra virgin olive oil to give the tenders a perfect, irresistible crunch; but you can make these an even better-for-you option by baking them in a hot oven.

Almond flour (or almond meal) can be a little bit pricey from the store but it's actually quite simple to make at home. I used blanched sliced almonds and pulverized them in a food processor. I recommend pulsing about 10 times, scraping down the sides, and pulsing another 10 times until you have a small meal consistency. Any large pieces that didn't get broken up can be easily picked out.

The chicken tenders get built up just like any breaded meat. I pound them out nice and thin between two pieces of plastic wrap, then pat them dry.

Each tender gets dipped in an egg wash then coated in a mixture of coconut flakes, almond flour, salt, and pepper. The subtle nuttiness of the almond flour with the sweet and soft coconut is just a beautiful combination!

The chicken is fried in about 1/4 an inch of extra virgin olive oil. Be careful to heat the olive oil slowly, as it has a low smoking point.

When all is said and done, the final product is a sweet and crunchy, golden brown chicken dish. The flavors of summer are subtle and soft. I served mine with a peach salsa. Peaches and coconut are like being poolside in the summertime. This chicken would also be great alongside potatoes and steamed vegetables, or on a sandwich.

Here's what you need for Crispy Coconut Almond Chicken Tenders (Print Recipe!)

1 pound thin-sliced chicken breast tenders
1/3 cup almond flour
1/3 unsweetened coconut flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup or so extra virgin olive oil

Here's what you do

Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound out the chicken until about 1/2 inch thick or desired thinness. Using a paper towel, blot both sides of the tenders until dry. Season with salt and pepper

Combine the almond flour and coconut flakes in a wide, shallow bowl with a little more salt and pepper.

Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, allowing excess to drip off. Then transfer to the almond and coconut mix, completely coating both sides. Set aside on a piece of wax paper until ready to fry.

Meanwhile, fill a heavy-bottomed frying pan with most of the olive oil. For my size pan, this was about 1/2 cup (may be more or less). Turn heat to medium. Check when the oil is ready by splashing a few drops of water on the surface of the oil. If the water dances around when it touches the oil, it is ready to go.

Fry chicken tenders two at a time, about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to strain out the extra oil. Sprinkle with a little more sea salt while hot out of the oil. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. sounds delicious... I love this Crispy Coconut Almond Chicken Tenders recipe.. I can't wait to try this! Thanks for sharing..