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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From pond to plate

We had a nice visit at my parents' house after our trip to the Desert Museum, and Chad and my dad spent a lot of time fishing at my grandpa's pond.  It may not be a huge pond, but it is teeming with fish, thanks to Grandpa's diligent stocking efforts.  The guys came home with some really big bass and catfish.  And since we can only eat so much grilled fish in one sitting, Chad and I took home a big gallon-size Ziploc back full of fish fillets.  My kids are not big fans of grilled fish, but they do love fish sticks.  So I used my favorite Crispy Chicken Nuggets breading recipe from Cook's Country magazine to fry up some crispy fish fillets.  It was so cool to eat those yummy fillets and know that they were wriggling fish in Grandpa's pond just a couple days before.  And the even kids gobbled them up.  Here's the original AMAZING chicken nugget recipe:

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch thick nugget pieces (I've done strips too, to save time)
2 cups water
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs, crushed smaller
2 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 large egg whites
4 cups oil

  1. Brine: Mix water, salt, and Worcestershire in large bowl or plastic bag.  Add chicken and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes (45 minutes for strips).
  2. Coat: Remove chicken and discard brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine dry ingredients in shallow dish.  Whisk egg white in second shallow dish until foamy.  Coat chicken in egg then dry mixture, pressing to adhere.  Transfer to plate and let sit 10 minutes.  
  3. Fry: Heat oil in large pot to 350 degrees.  Coat chicken in dry mixture a second time.  Fry chicken in batches until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes (slightly longer for strips), turning over halfway through cooking time.  Drain on wire rack set on cookie sheet.  Allow oil to return to 350 degrees before frying next batch.
Make ahead and freeze: put cooled nuggets in a freezer bag for up to 1 month.  To serve, bake nuggets at 350 for 15 minutes, or until heated through, flipping halfway through.

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