Thanks to the buttermilk brine and benne-panko breading, these chicken fingers are tender and juicy on the inside with a perfect golden-brown crust.
Benne-Crusted Fried Chicken Fingers
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole buttermilk, divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- ⅓ cup benne seeds
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- Ranch dressing, to serve
- In large resealable plastic bag, combine chicken, 1 cup buttermilk, thyme, and black pepper; seal bag, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- In a 4-quart cast-iron Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 3 inches, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk. In another shallow dish, whisk together flour, bread crumbs, benne, salt, and red pepper.
- Working in batches, remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip off. Dredge in flour mixture, gently shaking off excess. Dip in egg wash, letting excess to drip off. Dredge again in flour mixture.
- Fry chicken in batches until golden brown and chicken registers 165° on an instant-read thermometer, 3 to 5 minutes. Let chicken drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with ranch dressing.