I learned this through cooking – most people learn it through parenting. I believe it takes being out on your own and cooking for yourself to truly appreciate fine cooking. Most kids just want to fill-up and go.
For this recipe, I keep things simple and make one of my all-time favorites – the very kid-friendly chicken tenders. I bread the tenders with panko bread crumbs which hail from Japan. They are small, crystal-like shards of bread that have tiny points that stick out in all directions. They provide an extra crunchy texture that is surprisingly lite. Most major grocery chains stock panko crumbs in the specialty food isle and I highly recommend them. They turn this child-friendly bite into a scrumptious feast for kids and adults alike.
BEHIND THIS BITE
I made these chicken tenders for a snack while I watched the Sunday slate of NFL games, I documented them, but I hadn't intended on using this recipe for the print version of my column. I soon changed my mind because I thought it would be a nice recipe for people running out of ideas to feed the kids while they were home on Holiday break. I decided to go with it. After I made the tenders originally, I stored the leftovers so that I could make a couple more recipes using the crispy chicken.
I made both the wrap and salad on the same afternoon. As usual, I took them to Mom and Dad for a taste test. They were going to go out to eat later, so I expected them to take a nibble just to try it. What I didn't expect was for Dad to eat the entire wrap and dinner salad before they went out to eat! I'm glad he enjoyed it but I was surprised that he devoured the entire spread! He's a big eater. I never thought of the crispy chicken wrap AND salad as an appetizer. They are, for most people, a sufficient Lunch or dinner - Separately.
BBQ Crispy Chicken Wrap
I love the concept of the wrap.
It's like the American version of a burrito. I consider it a culinary present – you have to tear it open to find out what's inside. This can be equally fun and scary at the same time - especial when it is something your about to consume.
Crispy Chicken Salad
I love croutons on salad, the crispy chicken gives a similar crunch here and allows me a chance to use fried tortilla strips as well. I have always thought that tortilla strips and croutons together is almost a conflict of interest on a salad.
I'm glad I finally got to include an actual salad on this blog, it would have been nice to share with Nicole, but we have mutually (and peacefully) parted ways and live in different cities now. I do have to give her credit for the inspiration to this dish, one of the many things that she inspired in me. I dedicate this one to her!
Eat well, cook often ...