Crispy Dijon Chicken (Paleo)
When I was a kid currently, and likely for the rest of my life, I will love chicken fingers. If there’s nothing good on a menu when you go out to eat, chicken fingers will never let you down, no matter what dive restaurant you end up at. They’re safe, you can tell if they’re funky the moment you see them, and you can dip them in anything.
There’s something to be said for consistency – as a self-proclaimed creature of habit that also suffers… no, *cancel, rip burn* THRIVES from OCD, ADD, BBQ, WTF, etc, I. Hate. Change. I mean…. If this were a job interview, I’d tell you I love change, I love switching it up, I love waking up and not knowing what the hell I’m doing for the day….but that also might be a partial fib. I don’t like the mundane, but I also enjoy knowing what’s around the corner. Always. I will ruin any surprise party anyone tries to throw for me… because I must know what’s going on.
I am also a bad liar, so… I can’t pretend I don’t know things, either.
On a more serious note, I think it makes life a little easier when you have even the smallest predictable habit in your schedule – it gives you a little comfort in knowing some things won’t change in your life, even if it’s a morning coffee routine, walking your dog every night, or walking to lunch with a co-worker. You could even commit to something amazing, such as 10-15 minutes of meditation, or a positive affirmation of your intentions before bed? When it boils down to it, having something you can mentally rely on to be there, no matter how small, helps you muscle through the really hard, unpredictable and gritty parts of life. Sometimes you just gotta go get your chicken fingers after a hard day.
So here makes the arrival of a little experiment I did a few weeks ago, and again this weekend. Having several people in my life that need to eat gluten free, I’m determined to find Paleo alternatives to things that I love. I’ve made variations of this before (of which I will definitely share at some point!), but nothing is better than a good ol’ chicken finger. Plus, I’m saving you a step by including sawsie goodness right into the chicken finger itself. (plot twist… there’s always extra sauce… if you learn anything about me, it’s that I love sauce on everything….)
**For you non-meat-eaters, you could also do this with strips of tofu. I like to sear the tofu to give it a nice crust for some extra crunch – but to each their own.
Crunchy Dijon Chicken
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20-25 min
- ~1 to 1 1/2 lb chicken breast, or 2-4 breasts (depending on size), sliced in half thickness-wise
- 1 cup of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut Flakes
- 1 1/2 cups of Crushed Plantain Chips
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard, plus more to taste
- 3 Tablespoons of Coconaise, or Vegenaise, plus more to taste
- 1 Small Shallot, minced
- 1 tsp raw honey
For the Extra Sauce
- 1/2 cup of Coconaise
- 1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 tbsp raw honey
- ¼ cup of scallions for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Crush up plaintain chips in a bag. I’ve used unsalted, but I find that using salted ones are just the right amount of flavor. Add to medium sized bowl and set aside.
- In a small non-greased pan over medium high heat, toast the coconut until most of it is lightly browned. Remember to stir – you don’t want it to burn! Once browned, add the coconut flakes to the plaintain chips, add salt, and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dijon, honey, shallot and mayo to make the sauce mixture. It should be tangy, a little sweet, and savory. Feel free to add a bit more mayo or dijon if you need to.
- Dip the chicken in the sauce mixture until generously and thoroughly coated. Next, dip into the crust mixture. Repeat this for all chicken pieces and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Discard any remaining sauce in the bowl and the plantain/coconut – you don’t want to risk anything with the raw chicken!
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until crust starts to crisp and brown.
- As the chicken is baking, prepare the extra sauce. Mix mayo, Dijon, honey and scallions in a bowl. Spread over chicken once finished cooking.