Oven Roasted "Fried" Chicken Tenders
with cauliflower and potato mash / baked tomatoes
This is our healthier take on a classic combination - fried chicken and mashed potatoes. A thin layer of melted butter and a roast in the oven gives these panko-breaded chicken tenders a crisp, flavorful exterior without the need for traditional frying. To lighten the mashed potatoes, we're adding cauliflower florets which have the added bonus of giving it a nice nutty flavor.
Oven Roasted “Fried” Chicken Tenders:
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
- Paprika, smoked - 1/2 tsp
- Oregano, dried - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
- Buttermilk, low-fat - 3/4 cup
- Chicken, boneless skinless tenders - 1 lb (sub boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced)
- Panko breadcrumbs - 3/4 cup
- Flour, all-purpose - 1/4 cup
- Foil - for lining pan
- Butter - 4 Tbsp
- Dipping sauces - for serving (like ketchup, honey mustard or bbq sauce)
Baked Parmesan Tomatoes:
- Cheese, parmesan - 2 oz , grated
- Thyme, fresh - 1 tsp , leaves torn
- Tomatoes, medium - 2 , halved
Cauliflower and Potato Mash:
- Cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen - 12 oz
- Potatoes, russet - 8 oz , cubed
- Butter - 1 Tbsp
- Make chicken spice mix - Combine salt, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and black pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Cauliflower / Cheese / Thyme - Prep as directed. Store cauliflower in one container. Combine cheese and thyme in another container. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
- Marinate chicken - Whisk together half the spice mix (reserve the other half) and buttermilk. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Potatoes / Tomatoes - Prep as directed. (Peel the potatoes or leave them unpeeled for a more rustic mash.) To slice tomatoes, set them stem-side up on a cutting board. With your knife parallel to the counter, slice tomatoes in half.
- Prep breading - Combine panko, flour and remaining half of spice mix in a plastic bag.
- Heat oven to 400F / 204C.
- While oven heats, combine potatoes and cauliflower in a saucepan. Cover with water and season with some salt. Put the lid on the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. When water begins to boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer until both potatoes and cauliflower are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with foil. Place butter on top of foil and transfer sheet pan to heated oven. Leave sheet pan in the oven until the butter is fully melted, ~3 minutes (keep an eye on it to avoid burning).
- Remove chicken from buttermilk marinade (discard marinade) and shake off excess marinade. Transfer chicken to bag with flour / panko mixture. Shake to coat. Take heated pan from the oven and swirl the butter around so it coats the pan. Add chicken in a single layer.
- Bake until chicken is golden brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip chicken and continue baking until chicken is cooked through ~5 minutes more.
- Once chicken is baking, place tomatoes in a small baking dish, cut-side up. Top tomatoes with cheese and thyme leaves. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Return to potatoes and cauliflower. Once they are tender, strain off water and add butter. Mash with a fork (or use an immersion blender to get it really smooth and creamy). Season with some salt.
- Serve chicken with dipping sauces if you'd like. Enjoy potato / cauliflower mash and roasted tomatoes on the side.