The Spanish eat a lot of chicken, but it’s usually roasted. It’s rare that you’ll come across fried chicken or wings but they do like a snack called Lagrimas, which are similar to chicken tenders except they cut the breast into strips rather than use the actual tender. Lagrimas means tears in Spanish which the strips are said to resemble (it’s a stretch for me, I’ll admit). There’s a place near us that serves several different flavors, each with its own marinade and sauce. I have built on their technique to make dukkah crusted chicken strips to share with you today.
Dukkah is a blend of nuts, seeds and spices that is used as a condiment in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. I like to sprinkle it over salads, hummus and especially to use it as a crusting agent instead of bread crumbs. You may be able to find it in your grocery, but it’s simple enough to make at home. It’s great for using up open bags of nuts and seeds. I seem to always have some around.
To go with the Mediterranean flavors of the dukkah, I decided to marinate my chicken strips in lemon juice and olive oil.
The sauce is a simple roasted red pepper mayo that takes about 30 seconds to make with the aid of a stick blender.
The most difficult part is preparing the chicken. I started with a single breast that’s been trimmed and pounded to about 1/2 inch or so thickness before cutting into even strips. If it’s super thick, cut the breast in half butterfly style before pounding and cutting.
Use a zip top bag to marinade the strips for a half hour or so before coating with the dukkah and baking in a hot oven. You could also shallow fry if you prefer, but I get better results from baking as the coating isn’t disturbed as much. The pieces are thin so it doesn’t take long to cook no matter which method you choose.
- ½ cup olive oil
- juice of a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 1 - 2 jarred roasted red peppers, depending on the size
- splash of vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound (450gms) deboned chicken breasts, trimmed and cut or pounded to about ½" thick
- ½ cup dukkah, store bought or make your own, more or less, for coating
- Prepare the marinade, pour into a zip top bag and add the prepared chicken strips. Rotate to distribute the marinade. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the roasted red pepper sauce by pulsing the ingredients in a food processor or blender until well mixed. Taste and adjust the flavor by adding more mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper as desired.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425F/220C and prepare a baking tray with vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil).
- Pour the dukkah into a shallow plate.
- Remove the chicken strips from the marinade and coat with the dukkah. Transfer to the baking tray.
- Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the dukkah is golden brown.
- Serve with the roasted red pepper mayo.
The marinade adds another layer of flavor to the crunchiness of the seeds and the spices used in the dukkah. You could, of course, use a standard flour and bread crumb coating. I chose dukkah because I had it on hand and wanted a low carb option.