almond-crusted chicken

Some of you might remember GF fried chicken from many moons ago; the real difference between that recipe and this one, and in fact basically the point of this recipe, was that my sister could still eat it now that she’s on a paleo diet to manage her various new food intolerances.  But, she can have everything in this recipe, sauce included, so huzzah!

If you’re trying to make sure this recipe stays paleo, you’ll want to deep-fry in olive oil as described below, since olive oil and I think coconut oil are the only paleo oils.  (Not even peanut oil.  Le sigh.)  Most places will tell you that you can’t deep-fry in olive oil, but as long as you use extra-virgin olive oil and don’t raise the temperature above 375 degrees Farenheit, you should be fine.  (I tend to set it at 365 just so I’m not pushing it.)  Of course, if you just want to make almond-crusted fried chicken, and even make sure it’s gluten-free, canola oil or peanut oil or what have you should all work fine.  :-)  For that matter, the seasoning in the breading is on the milder side, and you could kick that up a notch too if you wanted.

The other thing you want to make sure of is to use fillets, for the shorter frying time.  By the time it’s done the almond flour will be pretty thoroughly browned so you probably don’t want to use any pieces you’d have to fry longer than 12-15 minutes to make sure they’re cooked through (and bone-in chicken usually takes 18-20 minutes).

And of course, there’s no particular reason you’d have to use this particular dipping sauce with this particular fried chicken.  :-)  I was frying breast fillets (lower fat, so better for my sister’s diet), which tend to be kinda dry and want for a sauce no matter how expertly you cook them.  (I’m a dark-meat lover myself, as is most of my family!)  So the dipping sauce just kinda counteracts any dryness if you’re frying breasts, but if you’re not worried about sugar, vinegar, etc. (i.e. not paleo) you could use ketchup or any old barbecue sauce you like.

I’ve gone on long enough, really.  You came here for a recipe, right?  :-)

Almond-Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Dipping Sauce

for the chicken and breading:

  • 7-9 breast fillets (or thigh fillets, if you can have the dark meat)
  • 10 T tapioca flour
  • 2 T arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • several eggs
  • several cups of almond flour

for the sauce:

  • 2 oz fresh pineapple
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1.  Thaw your fillets if necessary, and pat them dry; set them aside on a plate or paper towels.

2.  First, you’ll want to make the sauce.  Puree the pineapple in either  a blender or food processor, then add the remaining sauce ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined and smooth, stopping every so often to scrape the sides of the bowl if need be.  I usually let it run at least 5 minutes just to make sure the pineapple, tomato, and water are perfectly integrated.  Once it’s done, put the sauce in tupperware in teh fridge to let it chill and the flavors combine a little longer.

3.  Next, start your oil heating.  The breading won’t take long so you’ll still have plenty of time.  Heat olive oil deep enough to fry to 365 degrees Farenheit.  (Because it’s so easy to burn olive oil at such high temperatures, make absolutely sure you use a deep fryer or electric skillet, as I mention here.)  Prepare a drain plate with paper towels or brown paper, find a pair of tongs to have handy once it’s time to start frying, then leave the oil to heat and get started on the breading.

4.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, and seasonings (salt, parsley, basil, pepper, paprika, and cayenne).  In a second medium mixing bowl, quickly beat an egg; in a third mixing bowl, just put a few handfuls of almond flour.  Dredge each piece of chicken in each bowl in turn — first the seasoned flour, then the egg, then the almond flour — making sure to coat the chicken completely each time.  At some point you’ll probably need to add a second egg, and a few more handfuls of almond flour, as you start to run low.

5.  Once the oil’s hot and the first few pieces are ready, carefully put them in to cook for 12-15 minutes.  It’s nice if you can flip them over halfway through so the almond flour in particular will cook a little more evenly (hence a pair of tongs, even if you have a frying basket), but the world won’t end if you forget to do it.

6.  Take the cooked chicken out, and let it drain on the drain plate.  Serve with the chilled pineapple sauce, and enjoy!  :-)