Who doesn't like food on a stick? There's something naturally fun about handheld food. It elicits memories of country fairs and football games. This recipe was inspired by the offerings of a gas station in Oxford, Mississippi. I am a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based out of Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi, to the rest of you) that documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South.
I generally pay a visit to Oxford each fall for the yearly SFA symposium. Being a Southern college town, there are robust opportunities for boozy carousing. Fried-chicken-on-a-stick is food consumed late at night in attempts to mitigate hangovers or the next morning as an answer to one. This recipe maintains the crispy flavor without the calories.
In a large bowl, combine the salt, 1 teaspoon of the paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of the onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic powder. Add the buttermilk and whisk until the salt is completely dissolved and the spices are dispersed in the liquid.
Cut the chicken lengthwise into about 1-inch-wide strips. Add to the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Do not marinate any longer or the chicken will be too salty. If you can't cook it right at the 30-minute mark, remove the chicken from the marinade and refrigerate until ready to continue.)
In a large shallow dish (a 9- by 13-inch baking dish works well), combine the bread crumbs, the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic powder. Add the 2 tablespoons oil and toss well to coat. Whisk together the egg whites and mustard in a second large shallow dish. Season both mixtures with pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then set an ovenproof rack on it. Coat the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and thread onto sixteen 12-inch bamboo skewers, dividing the meat evenly, about 1 strip per skewer. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Place in the bread crumb mixture one skewer at a time, sprinkle with crumbs to cover, and press so the coating adheres to both sides. Gently shake off any excess crumbs and place the skewers on the prepared rack.
Bake the chicken, turning halfway through, until golden brown and the juices run clear, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
Nutritional information: 204 calories, 6 g fat, 16 g carbohydrates, .7 g fiber, 20 g protein
Put the vinegar, onion, garlic, honey, and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow steady stream until thick and emulsified. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information per tablespoon: 42 calories, 3 g fat, 4 g carbohydrates, .1 g fiber, .1 g protein
Chef Virginia Willis has cooked Lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton, catered a bowling party for Jane Fonda, and harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily -- but it all started in her grandmother's country kitchen.
The nationally recognized Southern food authority and writer has authored five cookbooks, including Bon Appétit, Y'all; Basic to Brilliant; Y'all, Okra; and Grits. She's a columnist for FoodNetwork.com, a contributing editor for Southern Living, and was named one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know" by the Chicago Tribune.
Author: Virginia Willis
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
What's Inside: Dozens of to-die-for Southern favorites made healthier by Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis. Lower in fat and calories than traditional Southern fare, these easy-to-make dishes include delectable starters (like Sinless Seven-Layer Dip), fresh-from-the-garden sides (think Creamed Corn-Stuffed Tomatoes), comforting main dishes (such as Turkey Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy) and oh-so-sweet indulgences (make mine Spa-aah Fruit Cobbler).
Besides wholesome recipes with a focus on fresh ingredients, you'll find tips and techniques sure to simplify your life (cutting avocados and peeling peaches just got a whole lot easier!).
Time Out: 232 pages
Available: $24.99 hard cover at Amazon and other book retailers
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