Here's my problem with baking vs. pan frying: I use panko seasoned bread crumbs and they are very pale in color, even when you bake them they look white and just not appealing, though they taste good and crispy. I've figured out that if I lightly spray the chicken fingers with olive oil or cooking spray and finish them under the broiler they can be browned up a bit, but that's a lot more work then a chicken finger should really need. If you use traditional or whole wheat bread crumbs you can kind of disguise the pale baked chicken, if you are determined to use the oven. However, it's just faster (and tastier according to my kids) to go easy on the oil in a frying pan and cook those babies up quickly on top of the stove. You can see the difference in the pictures, and you can also tell by taste as well...I know it's the extra oil! The pan fried fingers win every time. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can and not sweat the small stuff.
If you want to make easy chicken fingers that will fly off the kids plate try this:
1/2 cup flour
1 egg beaten or milk
panko seasoned breadcrumbs
*1/2 cup parmesan cheese
vegetable oil or cooking spray olive oil
*For some extra flavor I sometimes mix parmesan cheese into the panko.
After cleaning and cutting up the chicken, get a big pan with a little oil heating up on the stove top. Prepare three bowls, one with flour, salt and pepper, one with beaten egg or milk (or both) and one with the panko bread crumbs. Coat the chicken strips in the flour first, then dip in the egg, and finally into the panko...generously coating in each! When the oil in the pan is hot, ease the chicken into the pan. Turn once when the bottom is nice and brown and you can see that the chicken is cooking through, and let the other side brown up. Remove to a paper towel on a cooling rack, to remove some excess oil, before transferring to a platter to serve.
Enjoy XO Martha
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