Crispy fried chicken tenders served on a gorgeous zucchini-corn cake. Serving up summer.

With this recipe, you’ve got it made in the shade.

Find a cool spot in your yard or at the park. If you plan it right, the scene will include a picnic table, welcoming tablecloth, a cooler of delicious beverages, and this summer-perfect dish featuring a dynamic duo of butter-fried corn cake and grapeseed oil-fried chicken tenders, drizzled with a hot (spicy) honey.

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Fried chicken tenders

I use breast meat for this because it’s light, but a thigh has more flavor. You can use thighs, of course, but if you use breast, for sure round out the flavor with some cleverly-selected, delicious dry herbs in the batter. And dried porcini powder. This is magical stuff, The Godfather of umami.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken breast cut into thin strips

For the brine

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons dried porcini powder

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 3 cups full fat buttermilk

Put the brine ingredients and chicken strips into a bowl, mix well with a fork and allow to marinate covered for 2 hours, or overnight.

When you’re ready to fry up the tenders, pour 4” to 5” of grapeseed oil in your EuroCAST Dutch oven and bring it to 350F to 375F. Avoid overcrowding so the chicken gets crisp. You can fry up the chicken in batches if you need to.

While that oil is coming to temp, dredge the marinated chicken strips.

Dredging flour

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 Tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Using silicone-tipped tongs or a silicone-covered slotted spoon, carefully slide the chicken into the hot oil. The temperature will drop a bit, which you’ll notice if you’re monitoring the oil temperature with a food thermometer (a good idea!). Keep the temperature between 300F and 325F while the tenders are frying.

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Hot Honey

There’s everything right, and nothing wrong, with the phrase “hot honey” in my book. Find out why now.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups clover honey

  • 1-2 Jalepenos, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Procedure

  1. In your EuroCAST sauce pan, add the honey and the sliced peppers until the bottom of the pan is covered. Then sprinkle in the red pepper flakes.

  2. Bring to a tidy boil.

  3. Remove from heat and cover the sauce pan with its lid.

  4. Allow to steep until ready to use, to incorporate the spice into the sweet.

Butter-fried corn and zucchini cakes

Now that you’ve got the chicken portion of the circus act under control, it’s time to make the very best corn cakes ever. Zucchini and corn both pop up in their finest form in summertime. So this is summer on a plate. And when you put the chicken tenders and hot honey on the corn cakes, you’ve got a full-on, three ring, summer circus of delights on your picnic table.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

  • 1 can corn kernels, or freshly cut corn

  • 1-1/2 cup corn meal

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 green onions thinly sliced

Mix everything in one big bowl. (I love this kind of cooking, where everything piles into a bowl like kids in the community pool.)


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Procedure

In your largest EuroCAST skillet, melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter.

  1. Drop the corn cake batter, 1/2 cup at a time, onto the buttered skillet.

  2. Cook one minute until toasty and browned, then flip and cook the other side for one minute until toasty and browned.

  3. Remove from the skillet with a silicone-covered spatula, place and a plate and continue until all the batter has been magically converted to corn cakes.

  4. Serve on a plate topped with fried chicken tenders and drizzle with the hot honey. Sprinkle with chopped chive and fresh parsley.

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Paul WardComment