This month is National Peanut Butter Month, apparently! Oh, the lowly peanut ... such a humble little legume that sits squarely at the center of so many paperbag lunches, crinkles in many a bag at the ballgame, and gets munched on many a transcontinental flight. I've joined a small group of folks that intend to do more sophisticated things with the peanut, however. I scoured the Cooking Light website and found a tasty peanut-crusted chicken appetizer, as a starter for the Virtual Supper Club's peanut- themed feast.
This month, I am beginning a new adventure with a group of food bloggers who have known each other for quite some time! Each month, Val at More Than Burnt Toast, Sandi of Whistlestop Cafe Cooking, Jerry from Jerry's Thoughts, Musings and Rants, and Giz from over at Equal Opportunity Kitchen have used Cooking Light magazine and the Cooking Light website to plan a meal that is centered around a common ingredient. I can't think of anything more fun than sharing our thoughts and coming up with one aspect of a meal that we share 'virtually'.
Take a look! It's accompanied by a pineapple salsa.
Yum! A healthy and delicious start to a meal that includes ....... hit the links to see our other menu items!
Virtual Supper Club November Menu
This is an easy appetizer to put together. The salsa is made with fresh cilantro and a small cup of fresh-cut pineapple from the produce aisle - no leftovers, just what you need for the recipe. Cooking Light's recipe has no spice to it other than the cilantro, so I added a pinch of red pepper flakes and a cup of sweet red pepper to build more flavour into the salsa. The chicken is made with a package of chicken tenderloins, which makes for easy portioning when plating the starter plates. The crispy crumble used to coat the chicken didn't adhere well, so I soaked the chicken in a small amount of skim milk to give the crumble a better base to 'stick to'. The combination of the hot crunchy chicken and the cool tangy salsa makes for a really nice way to perk up your palate for the rest of the dinner. This dish could also have the portion increased and plated with a salad for a meal by itself. Enjoy!
Peanut Crusted Chicken Tenders with Pineapple Salsa
1 c. fresh pineapple chunks, cut to ¼ -inch dice2 tbsp. cilantro, minced
1 tbsp. purple onion, finely chopped
1 c. sweet red pepper, cut to ¼ - inch dice
a pinch red pepper flakes
a lime wedge squeezed
1 teaspoon of reserved pineapple juice
¼ c. skim milk8 chicken tenderloins, washed and patted dry
½ tsp. Kosher salt
⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
⅓ c. dry roasted peanuts
1 slice white bread, toasted
1 ½ tsp. canola oil
Making the Dish:
- Toss the salsa ingredients together in a pretty bowl, cover and refrigerate.
- Prepare the chicken tenderloins and place them in a shallow pan with the milk. Set aside for 15 minutes, turning now and then.
- Place the peanuts and the toasted bread (torn into small pieces) in a blender bowl and pulse to a crumble that still has tiny pieces of peanut evident. Transfer the crumble coating to a shallow plate.
- Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Spritz with cooking spray and add the canola oil.
- Working quickly, sprinkle the salt and pepper over top of the tenderloins, dip them in the crumble and place them in the hot oiled pan. Do not move them once they are placed.
- Fry for two or three minutes per side – until golden brown and crispy crunchy.
- Heat the oven to 275° F and warm a platter. When the tender have cooked on both sides, transfer them to the warm plater and let them rest in the oven for about fifteen minutes to finish.
- Serve with the chilled salsa.
Oh! I forgot to plug the nutritional info! One serving includes 2 chicken tenders and a quarter cup of salsa for a grand total of 219 calories. I honestly think that an appetizer portion should be cut in half, giving you more leeway with the meal that follows. Anyway, it's an easy and fast dish. The salsa can be made ahead of time and chilled. The chicken cooks up in about fifteen minutes - I fried the chicken for about three minutes per side and finished the dish on a platter in a slow (275 degrees F) oven for about ten minutes. The tenders remained moist and tender on the inside and crisp on the outside, which is just the way they should be.