It would be nice to be able to come up with a more original name for this recipe, but the real truth is that I intentionally set out to “go one better” than Shake and Bake chicken/pork coating. The resulting coating is a clear winner. With the addition of dipping the chicken in a mayo/vinegar mixture prior to adding the crispy seasoned panko bread coating puts this chicken over the moon.
At first I thought about making a Shake and Bake copy cat, but yesterday as I finally set out on the project, I quickly realized that what I really wanted to do was to make a better coating. I knew that I wanted a panko base for its sheer crispiness. However, I wasn’t certain where to go from there. So, I opened up my spice drawers and considered the various flavors available. Smoked paprika was an immediate easy choice. Garlic and onion, industry standards, were next. Spice Hunter’s poultry seasoning is my favorite poultry seasoning, so that was pretty easy, too. What to do about the salt and pepper? Duh–Johnny’s seasoning salt, of course. Parsley got thrown in for good measure, more for color than for taste. Let’s be honest, dried parsley doesn’t really bring a whole lot to the party, but it does bring some color.
Flour seemed a logical enough choice to provide good coverage and some depth to the browning possibilities. Corn meal would add a little flavor as well as some crunchiness to the coating.
I looked at my chosen ingredients and decided that they were the team. I couldn’t think of anything else to add. Then came the next issue, however; how to get the breading to stay on the chicken. I wanted something special; something that would bring some big life to the party. Mayo was a good beginning, but it needed something more. Vinegar! Mayo + apple cider vinegar = knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark flavor. Za zing!
The chicken turned out perfectly crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. The mayo-vinegar combo was amazing and worked outrageously well with the crispy coating.
Since the coating ingredients are shelf-stable, I made a double batch of it and put it in a jar to have on hand for the next time I make this chicken, which will probably be on Sunday. I am so happy!
2/18/2014: Since first developing this recipe, I have added a low fat version to it. The recipe for the coating mix itself is unchanged. However, I now use boneless, skinless chicken pieces and a buttermilk marinade instead of the mayonnaise & vinegar. There is also an alternate recipe version without the buttermilk marinade. Both are delicious and definitely still top Shake-n-Bake coating mix. Sorry about that, Shake-n-Bake. 😉 I have included the recipe for Skinny Shake and Bake Chicken in a separate printable recipe.