This dish screams summer, but it will definitely liven things up in any season. Cool, crispy, pea pods and sweet peaches are enhanced by the heat of the chilies and the aromatics of mint and maple. These sunflower crusted tenders are great hot or cold—make them ahead of time for your family reunion pitch-in, or game day tailgate party.
- 1 pound Smart Chicken tenders
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 pound sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound pea pods, blanched and shocked
- 3 medium peaches, stoned and sliced
- 5 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 chile pepper to taste, thinly sliced (try Serrano or use your favorite)
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Lime wedges for garnish (optional)
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, flour, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken tenders and gently toss to evenly coat all surfaces.
Place sunflower seeds in another bowl and carefully dredge the coated chicken tenders in the seeds to coat. Press the seeds into the meat to secure. Refrigerate until needed. This can be done several hours in advance.
Just before cooking, preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat a large, ovenproof, nonstick pan over medium heat. Add vegetable oil and swirl in pan. Carefully place coated chicken tenders in pan and gently cook until lightly browned on both sides. Move to oven and allow chicken to continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 165°F (about 8 to 10 minutes).
While the chicken is in the oven, toss together the pea pods, peaches, scallions, mint, chile, orange zest and juice, maple syrup, olive oil, and cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove chicken to a serving platter and add the salad. Spritz chicken with lime juice and garnish with additional lime wedges as needed.
Pairing: Sake is a great match for the Asian-inspired sweet and sour flavors in the fruit and dressing.