Guilt-Free “Fried” Chicken


Convinced that everything healthy tastes badly? Not sure how to satisfy your appetite AND your waistline? Had you given up the dream of enjoying a guilt-free meal of fried chicken ever again? Well, so had Chris! As part of his new health regime, he thought he'd have to give up his beloved fried chicken for good.

But lucky for everyone, food stylist Crystal Asher has come to the rescue. She recently joined the Boys in studio to reveal a few of the tricks she uses to get all the flavour with a lot less fat. Here are her recipes for a "new-tritious" approach to chicken and fries:

Oven 'Fried' Lemon Herb Chicken

Serves 4 adults

Ingredients:Chicken preparation

2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (normal breadcrumbs work, too)
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped finely (or 2 tsp dried thyme, or any other herb that you like)
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp each, salt and fresh ground pepper
1 whole chicken (2-3 lbs, cut into 8 pieces - or 4 breasts halved or 8 thighs).

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat if you have one or parchment or foil if you don't. Oil the foil a bit so it doesn't stick.

Break the chicken down yourself or have your butcher do it for you. Remove skin if you wish. Place chicken pieces in a large double-sealed plastic zipper bag.

In a small bowl ,combine the mustard, oil, thyme, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Dump in the plastic zipper bag with the chicken and toss gently yet purposefully, making sure you coat every piece of chicken with the mustard paste. Note: You could let your chicken marinate at this point if you wish: 4 - 12 hours (or overnight) in the fridge. In a glass pie dish, combine the Panko crumbs and toasted sesame seeds until seeds are evenly distributed.

Breaded chickenRemove the chicken, piece by piece, from the bag and roll in the crumb mixture. Place crumbed chicken pieces on your lined baking sheet.

Bake for 30 - 40 min (a little less if you removed the skin as it will be prone to drying out). Or until the meat juices run clear when the leg is pierced at its thickest point. Set the oven to broil and, very carefully, brown the pieces before serving (watch it like a hawk, golden brown and burnt are literally seconds apart). You may have to shift your pieces around to achieve even browning.

Serve on a big warm platter with sweet potato fries, home made ketchup and low fat sour cream on the side.

Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 4

2 - 3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled.
2 extra large egg whites (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup grapeseed or light olive oil
1 tbsp Cajun spice mix (or steak seasoning)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Get out 2 large, well worn, seasoned baking sheets.

Scrub the potatoes and slice into 1/2" thick disks, lay the discs flat and cut into 1/2" batons or matchsticks. Put cut sweet potatoes in a large bowl -- big enough to toss them around.

In a smaller bowl, combine the egg white, oil and seasoning. Whisk with a fork or whisk until combined (and "not snotty" as my eloquent friend, Kristen, puts it) or get fancy and emulsify with a hand blender.
Pour the oil/egg white mixture over your sweet potatoes and toss to coat evenly.

Using your immaculately clean hands lift the coated sweet potato batons from the bowl (allowing any excess gunk to drip back into the bowl) and transfer to the baking sheet. Spread the fries out in a single layer so that none are touching -- this is a drag but critical to the crispiness factor of the finished fry. Bake both sheets in the oven and bake for about 15 min, at which time the fries will be half done.

Remove both trays from the oven and, using a metal spatula, loosen the fries from the baking sheet. Give the sheet a vigorous shake to make sure that all are free. Use a pair of tongs to turn each fry individually -- again, tedious but crucial to the crispiness factor.

Return the pans to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes, until the fries are deep golden, brown and tender on the inside. You may have to sample a few just to be sure.

Once done remove fries from the oven, season cautiously with sea salt (they may already be quite salty from the Cajun seasoning) and serve right away. These babies do not like to sit around and you worked hard for all that crispiness!

Extra credit:

Blue Cheese Dip!

1/2 cup no-fat Mayonnaise
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
4 oz Danish Blue or Roquefort, crumbled.
1-2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Whisk sour cream and mayo until smooth. Stir in blue cheese. Season to taste, add lemon juice to taste. If the dressing is too thick adjust consistency with extra lemon juice or water.


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