I like how colors combine in food. I feel a bit like a painter as I create a meal in my head. Sometimes I find myself making a meal that is predominately one color, like this brown dinner. Other times, I like to see how many different colors I can use to make a meal rife with multiple colors and shapes.
This meal falls into the second category. Spring is here and I want to eat vegetables and color. I’m trying to banish the food doldrums of the winter to the farther reaches of my short-term culinary memory. I want color, flavor and texture to reawaken my tastebuds.
I think this meal did that very nicely. This was perhaps one of the first times I’ve cooked chicken. Definitely the first time cooking it unsupervised. How does that happen to someone after so many years of cooking and eating? Well, I didn’t really get into cooking until I was away in college. By that point I was already a vegetarian. So, I somehow missed learning how to deal with meat. Mike wanted chicken, and I hadn’t had any in the past few weeks, so it seemed as good a time as any to figure out what to do with it.
Relying on guesswork and memories of watching people cook, I pieced together a bit of what you do with raw chicken to turn it into something delectable, something that is maybe even finger lickin’ good. I think for my first solo chicken adventure, I did really well. This meal might even turn a few heads.
Cornmeal Chicken Tenders
Package of thin, lean, chicken cutlet tenders
2 Tbsp. powdered buttermilk
1/2 c. cornmeal
1 scallion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. paprika
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
salt & pepper
1. Rinse chicken and place in bowl.
2. Add milk, just to cover chicken.
3. Add powdered buttermilk and stir to dissolve. Add generous pinch of salt.
4. Let soak for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
* This is the perfect time to wash lettuce and prepare the salad.
5. Heat large pan over medium heat and add vegetable oil just to coat bottom of pan.
6. In flat bowl combine cornmeal, paprika, scallion, salt & pepper
7. Dredge each piece of chicken in cornmeal mixture before adding to pan.
8. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side.
9. When outside is golden and inside of chicken is white – your tenders are ready to eat.
Warm Zesty Mango topping
1/2 fresh mango, cubed
1-2 c. frozen (or fresh) snow peas
orange zest from one orange
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. dried mint, crushed
pinch of thyme, crushed
Salt & Pepper
1. Use vegetable peeler to peel ribbons of zest from an orange.
2. Slice zest ribbons into thin strips.
3. Heat frying pan over medium high heat.
4. Add olive oil.
5. Add snow peas and orange zest, stir to cook for 2-3 minutes.
6. Add mango, stir.
7. Add mint, thyme and salt.
8. When peas are cooked and mango is still firm, remove from heat and put aside to cool to room temperature.
Use this to turn a basic salad into something special.
Serve with the warm cornmeal crusted chicken, lightly dressed salad and some fresh bread.