Friday, December 27, 2013

The Magic of Buttermilk Continues

Perhaps you bought that carton of buttermilk to make pancakes on Sunday morning or maybe you baked a cake or made some biscuits. For whatever reason, you still have that carton in your fridge, and the expiration date is inching closer, and you want to put it to use. Here are some more ideas using the magical ingredient; buttermilk.

The acidic properties of buttermilk make it an effective and flavorful marinade particularly with poultry. Many prefer dipping meat, poultry and fish in buttermilk rather than milk before coating for frying and baking.

The buttermilk tenderizes the chicken, keeps it moist, and adds a slight tang. If you are tired of dried out baked chicken, this is the recipe for you. However, take care not to over-cook the chicken or you will be back to square one.

Buttermilk Chicken

  • 3- 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, such as breasts, thighs and legs - I used 2 chicken breasts that were cut in half, as well as 3 chicken thighs. If you're going to use breasts, make sure you cut them in half so the buttermilk gets absorbed into the meat, it doesn't work as well with whole breasts.
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 TB. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. paprika (try Hungarian paprika)
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 beaten eggs
Panko Crumb Coating
  • 2 cups Panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TB. sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp. thyme 
  • 1 tsp. paprika

  • In a medium sized bowl, pour in buttermilk with spices and stir to combine.
  • Place chicken pieces into a gallon sized ziploc bag (or you can just throw the chicken in the same bowl as the buttermilk mixture, but make sure it's a large bowl). Add in the buttermilk mixture, and zip up the bag. Make sure to shake the bag a bit so that all of the buttermilk gets on and seeps into all of the chicken pieces.
  • Refrigerate the chicken for 8 hours or up to 24 hours. If you're using a bowl to marinate the chicken in, make sure to cover the bowl tightly with either plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid.
  • After the chicken has marinated, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and pat each one dry. 
  • Mix Panko crumb coating mixture, dredge each piece of chicken in beaten egg and then into the crumbs.
  • Place the chicken pieces on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper that has been sprayed with PAM .
  • Roast the chicken until cooked through (or internal temps for both the breasts and thighs reaches 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer), about 45- 50 minutes or 25-30 minutes on the grill. Be sure to turn the chicken once during the cooking process
  • Garnish with sprigs of Rosemary

Healthy Fish Tacos with Buttermilk Avocado Puree
recipe adapted from Serves: 4

  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into eighths
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1- 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrot
  • 1 cup coarsely grated radishes
  • 1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into 8 equal pieces or another fish of choice
  • Whole-wheat flour, for coating the fish
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Sliced fresh jalapeno peppers and chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 F.
  • In a food processor, combine the avocado, buttermilk, 1 clove of garlic, lime juice and salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, then set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, remaining garlic, carrot, radishes, vinegar, sugar, lime zest and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Set aside.
  • Heat a heavy skillet (such as cast-iron or stainless steel, but not nonstick) over medium heat. One at a time, place the tortillas in the skillet and toast for about 30 seconds per side. As the tortillas are toasted, stack them on a sheet of foil. Wrap the foil around the tortillas, then place them in the over to keep warm. Alternatively, the tortillas can be held with tongs and toasted directly over a gas burner for a few seconds per side.
  • In a pie plate or other wide, shallow bowl, combine about 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. One at a time, dredge each piece of fish through the flour until coated evenly. Shake off any excess.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the fish to the pan and cook, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes a side. Transfer to an oven-safe plate and set in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and fish.
  • To serve, top each tortilla with a bit of the avocado puree, then a piece of fish. Drain the cabbage mixture, then mound some of that over each portion. Serve with jalapeno slices and cilantro on the side.

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