Ultimate Baked Chicken Nuggets
After about 18 months of experimenting, I finally got the baked chicken nuggets of my dreams. They’re crunchy and just fantastic. I integrated the technique I use for Parmesan Grouper with what I had already been doing for these nuggets (which were good but still not perfect). I now think they’re perfect, and that’s something I’d only say about, maybe 1 in 100 recipes.
When prepping the chicken, you’re looking for decent sized chunks. You can go as big as “chicken-finger sized. Oh heck, you could even use this same technique to bread a whole breast (just pound the thicker part down a little so that the thinner end doesn’t dry out while the thicker end cooks). You end up with a problem when the chunks are too small- the meat will cook before the breading has a chance to brown. If the breading is browning too much but the meat isn’t done, just turn the heat down by 25-degrees..
Approximately four boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into uniform two-bite chunks.
1 cup grated Parmagiano Reggiano
1 cup panko bread crumbs (usually found in Asian aisle of grocery store)
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For coating process
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin not required)
Preheat oven to 450-degrees
Bread the chicken
- With a whisk, emulsify the oil with the egg.
- Mix the breading ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Pat chicken chunks dry with a paper towel.
- Dredge a chunk of chicken in flour, shake off excess. Now dip it in the egg, again allowing the excess to drip off. Roll it in the breading mixture to coat.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Bake in oven until desired doneness, about 12-15 minutes.
Add dried herbs such as oregano, basil, rosemary or tarragon to the breading mixture. Add porcini or shitake mushroom powder to the breading (combined with the parmesan, it’s almost like a natural form of MSG. Add some kick by adding pepper flakes to the breading.