Amelia was off school today, so I wanted to have a fun ‘food’ day with her. So we made lots of kid-friendly foods together, but healthier versions of them. No-sugar banana muffins, baked mac & cheese bites and these chicken fingers and broccoli fritters.
While this meal takes some work to put together, it’s so fun to eat and Amelia gobbles it right up! You can use any kind of chicken, but I prefer tenders as they’re easier for kids to hold. And for the fritters, you can use any vegetable. Think of them like a potato pancake and you can swap out any veggie(s).
Crunchy Baked Chicken Fingers with Broccoli Fritters
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins
- 8 ounces (1 small-to-medium bundle, 225 grams) fresh broccoli (3 cups chopped)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- A pinch of red pepper flakes or several grinds of black pepper
- Olive or vegetable oil for frying
- To make the chicken fingers, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread panko on a baking tray, spray with oil, then bake for 3 to 5 minutes until light golden. Transfer to bowl.
- Combine the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk with a fork until combined. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
- Pick up chicken with tongs (they’ll stay crunchier if you use tongs instead of your fingers) and place it into the panko bowl. Sprinkle surface with breadcrumbs, then press down to adhere. Transfer onto baking tray. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Spray lightly with oil, sprinkle with a touch of salt. Bake 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While chicken fingers are baking, make the fritters: first prepare your broccoli: Separate the florets from the biggest stem(s). Cut the florets into 1-inch chunks. You should have about 3 cups of chopped broccoli total.
- Steam your broccoli until tender but not mushy: bring a 1/2-inch of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the broccoli, place a lid on it and simmer it for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the broccoli, then set it aside to cool slightly.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, lightly beat your egg. Add the flour, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Then, add the somewhat cooled broccoli and, using a potato masher, mash the broccoli just a bit. You’re looking to keep the bits recognizable, but small enough (1/4- to 1/2-inch chunks) that you can press a mound of the batter into a fritter in the pan. Once mashed a bit, stir or fold the ingredients together the rest of the way with a spoon. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Heat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Once hot, add a good slick of oil, about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot, scoop a two tablespoon-size mound of the batter and drop it into the pan, then flatten it slightly with your spoon or spatula. Repeat with additional batter, leaving a couple inches between each. Once brown underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip each fritter and cook on the other side until equally golden, about another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Transfer briefly to paper towels to drain, then to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. Serve with chicken fingers. If you want a dipping sauce for the chicken fingers besides ketchup, see note below. Enjoy!