Herbed Chicken Tenders with Tomato Sauce

You can make a substitute for buttermilk by adding a tablespoon and a half of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 1/2 cups of milk and letting the mixture stand for 10 minutes.

A mixture of dried herbs often used in Italian cooking such as marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Soaking time: 15 to 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the chicken tenders:

  • 2 pounds chicken tenders (about 12 pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (See Recipe Note)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning herbs (See Recipe Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the tomato dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Method

1 Soak tenders in buttermilk for 15 to 30 minutes. While the tenders are soaking, make the tomato dipping sauce.

2 Make the tomato dipping sauce: Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, stirring often, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the tomato paste, mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. The tomato paste should darken to a brick-red color.

Add the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Cook this for 5 minutes if using tomato sauce, 10 minutes if using crushed tomatoes.

3 Blend the dipping sauce: Put the sauce into a blender and purée until smooth. Hold your hand over the blender lid to keep it from popping off, and start the blender at a low setting and work up to the highest.

The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

4 Heat oven to 500°F. Line a sheet pan with foil and set an oven-safe metal cooking rack inside. Baking the tenders on this rack will help get them crispy on all sides.

5 Coat the tenders with breadcrumbs: Mix together the breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and salt in a shallow bowl. One by one, remove the chicken tenders from the buttermilk and place in the bowl with breadcrumbs, coating them on all sides with the breadcrumbs.

Place on the wire rack set inside the sheet pan, spaced slightly apart.

6 Bake the tenders: Drizzle a little melted butter over each chicken tender. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the pieces are lightly browned.

7 Serve with a bowl of the sauce for dipping.