Chicken Tenders with Pumpkin, Sesame and Poppy Seed Breading
Chicken tenders are a childhood favorite of mine. They have always been my weakness, but why not try switching it up? During my travels to Italy, I picked up this great variation at Culinary Institute of Bologna (CIBO). A variety of seeds are added to the breading, so it packs a punch of great flavor. You can even make it gluten free if you want. All you need to do is replace the flour and panko with their gluten-free counterparts. Superbowl, snack, salad, lunch or dinner--these tenders make the cut.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Line a separate large baking sheet with paper towels and a wire rack.
Combine the garlic powder, paprika, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Mix the flour with 2 teaspoons of the seasoned salt in a large shallow bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg in a large shallow bowl and set aside. Combine the panko, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds in a large shallow bowl and set aside.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (it should be about 1 inch deep) until it registers 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer.
While the oil is heating up, bread the chicken in small batches. First, place the chicken in the flour mixture, coating each tender evenly and dusting off any excess flour. Then place the chicken in the egg wash, making sure each tender is covered. Place the tenders in the panko mixture, rolling the chicken so each tender has a nice coating. Be sure not to overcrowd the bowls with chicken, as you want each tender properly coated. Place the breaded chicken on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cook the chicken until golden brown and an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, 4 to 6 minutes on each side. If the chicken is browning too fast, lower the heat. Place the cooked chicken on the wire rack and serve hot.
Breaded, these tenders freeze well for 3 weeks. The best way to freeze them is individually, on a flat surface. Then place the frozen raw tenders in a freezer bag.
If you like heat, try adding some cayenne pepper to the seasoning salt.