The other night I cooked fried chicken tenders, a delicious, crispy easy weeknight meal, especially for a family that is coming in and out for dinner at different times. They are great when hot and easily reheated in the over.
My chicken tenders came in a meat bag from 4P Foods. They were produced by Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Organic, which can be found in some stores as Farmer Focus brand chicken. The chickens are raised on Certified Humane, organic farms. I used a local egg from Cabin Creek Heritage Farm and Trickling Springs milk that I bought at Whole Foods in the coating, then seasoned the flour with sage from my own garden that I dried last year. An extra local flavor boost came from homemade Appalachian ramp chimichurri, a gift from Christy Gabbard, one of my colleagues with the Chesapeake Foodshed Network.
To make this fully local, I’d need to use local flour, which tends to be whole grain and I’m not sure how that will work for coating and frying. Should I sift out the bran flecks first, or use it whole? If you have suggestions, let me know! I forgot to use my JQ Dickinson salt from West Virginia, but that’s easily fixed. I would have to skip the black pepper altogether, though. Honesty, I think black pepper will be one of the hardest things for me to give up! I doubt I’ll find a good substitute for panko bread crumbs, made exclusively from local flour. I might try one of my tricks, coating the tenders in crushed potato chips and baking them instead of frying. Route 11 makes sweet potato chips from organic sweet potatoes grown at Quail Cove Farm on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Sounds like a possible Buy Local Challenge experiment!