As a kid I was a really picky eater to the point of nutritional deficiency: hot dogs, onion rings, and chicken fingers were the name of the game. And even though I’ve broadened my horizons considerably as an adult, I still get a hardcore jonesing for chicken fingers…a hankering that can’t be denied!
I tried a few recipes I found online for paleo/GF chicken fingers, but either the coating wouldn’t stick or they were fried (which I think is less healthy than baking and more labor-intensive). The internet had failed me.
It was time to blaze my own trail, to create a more perfect union between chicken and breading!
Mixing coconut flour and almond meal allows a delicious, crunchy breading to stick to the chicken instead of the baking sheet. Make sure to cut your chicken into small pieces so they will cook completely (salmonella is a bummer). Don’t be put off by the sweet smell of the coconut flour, it doesn’t transfer to the finished product, but if you’re concerned use some heat in your spices, like red cayenne pepper, to counteract any perceived sweetness.
Baked Gluten-Free/Paleo Chicken Tenders!
red cayenne pepper
You could also use cumin, turmeric, Italian spice blends, pretty much anything so long as
it’s ground into a powder.
The Kitchen Science
1) Whisk 1-2 eggs with a fork, adding a pinch of salt and pepper (I like to go with 2 eggs so I get a solid coating even on the last few pieces). Adjust your oven racks and pre-heat the broiler on low.
2) In a separate bowl, combine 2 parts almond meal with 1 part coconut flour, eyeballing for how much chicken you have (you can always mix up some more if you run out). Add spices: go heavy on the spice so that you can see/smell the seasoning in the mixture. Almond meal has almost no flavor so use more spice than you think you need.
3) Cut chicken into nugget-sized pieces and slosh the pieces in the egg mixture.
4) Roll the eggy-chicken in the almond meal/coconut flour mixture and make sure they’re well coated.
5) Place on a baking sheet greased with olive oil (I like to put a piece of tinfoil down and use an olive-oil spritz).
6) Broil on low for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. If the tenders are looking a little dry, mist them with a little olive oil at the halfway point.
7) Serve and enjoy immediately with the dipping sauce of your choice–we’re a house divided: Dave likes BBQ sauce and I’m a ketchup loyalist.