Coconut Chicken Fingers

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Dan here today.  About a year ago, Beth got magazine happy and subscribed to a bunch of different cooking magazines.  It all started with Real Simple, but now we also get Eating Well, Clean Eating, and Cooking Light.  It’s sometimes hard for me to tell these magazines apart, but my sense is that Cooking Light is my least favorite.  It seems like their recipes often use a ton of ingredients, or they replace a common, easily obtainable ingredient with something slightly more exotic and harder to find in the name of saving 10 calories per serving.  As a result, I tend to find myself shying away from Cooking Light recipes or modifying them extensively.  Every once in awhile, though, I’ll stumble upon a pretty good idea, like this recipe for coconut chicken fingers.
coconut chicken fingers12
A couple of months ago I went through a short breading phase where I breaded pretty much everything in sight.  And by everything, I mean mostly chicken and tilapia.  I experimented with a number of different herbs and spices in the breading, but often I couldn’t get the flavors of the herbs to shine through.  Eventually, I got tired of it and moved on to other things.  I liked the idea of replacing bread crumbs with unsweetened coconut, though, so I decided to give this recipe a shot.  Since I love me some gluten, I decided to just use regular old flour instead of running out and buying rice flour to coat the chicken, and I only used about a half cup.  I also ran out of coconut before I had finished coating all the chicken strips, so I used a bit more than the recipe calls for.  I could definitely taste the coconut in the finished product, although I accidentally overcooked a couple of fingers, which seemed to kill the coconut flavor.  Beth had one of these pieces at first and turned up her nose at the recipe, but when she sampled some of the properly cooked fingers, she quickly changed her mind

Coconut Chicken Fingers
From Cooking Light
4 chicken breast halves cut into 1/2 inch thick strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
3 Tablespoons canola oil

1. Cover the 4 chicken breasts with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.
2. Place the flour in a shallow baking dish
3. In a separate shallow baking dish combine the 1 cup buttermilk and 1 egg.  Stir until combined
3. Pour the 1 1/2 cups coconut in a separate shallow baking dish.
4. Dredge the chicken first through the flour mixture first-shake off excess. the buttermilk egg mixture second and finish with the coconut.
5. heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 3 Tbsp oil and coat the pan.  Cook the chicken for about 6 minutes until done.