Blood Orange Granita, for serving, recipe follows
For the blood orange rub: Place chicken pieces in a large dish and add the garlic powder, pepper, ground fennel, olive oil and blood orange zest. Coat the chicken with the rub and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the crispy chicken fingers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a large pot one-third full with the vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with a cooling rack.
Place the flour, whisked eggs and panko into individual dishes. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour, followed by the eggs and then the panko breadcrumbs. Place the breaded chicken on the prepared baking tray. In batches, place the chicken strips in the oil and fry until crispy and golden. Place on a baking tray and keep warm in the oven. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken.
For the sweet and sour blood orange sauce: Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the red onions and sweat until tender and translucent. Mix the honey, red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Add to the saute pan and stir. Add the blood orange zest, blood orange pieces and cinnamon stick. Season with salt and pepper, stir and cook until the mixture has reduced by half.
Strain the mixture through a sieve into a new pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat. Continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Place the pot back over medium heat, add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a simmer to cook the cornstarch out, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.
For the blood orange watercress salad: Segment the blood oranges over a sieve and bowl to ensure all the juices are reserved; set the segments aside. Place the olive oil, red wine vinegar and shallots in the blood orange juice. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Place the watercress and iceberg lettuce on a serving plate. Spoon the blood orange dressing over the greens. Garnish with the blood orange segments and crushed rice crackers.
Serve the salad alongside the crispy chicken fingers with the sweet and sour blood orange dipping sauce.
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