I've always loved deep-fried food, and it used to be the only way I could enjoy fish. The crispy oily coating is such a nice contrast to the moist and soft inside, whether it be fish, chicken or vegetables. Do you see this lovely picture of local taqueria Tacofino's fish tacos?* All those healthy cool vegetables are the perfect foil for their warm crispy battered fish pieces. So, really, having something fried makes you appreciate healthy veggies even more!
Ok, we all know we should limit fried foods. But do you remember Shake n Bake? This was a fun and easy way to get a crispy coating on chicken without the frying. You can make your own gluten-free breading mix without all those weird ingredients in the store bought mix.
This can be used for chicken, pork, fish, onion rings, avocado slices, par-boiled potato wedges, and pretty much anything you feel like breading and baking. Try fish sticks, chicken nuggets, or Baja fish tacos!
Go to Origin and buy some gluten-free breadcrumbs if you don't already have some in your cupboard. If you've had the crumbs for awhile and they are getting stale, you can 'refresh' them by spreading them out on a cookie sheet and toasting them in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Make your own breading mix by combining the following:
- 1 cup gf breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp paprika (I recommend smoked paprika if you have it!)
You can add additional seasoning depending on what you are cooking. Some poultry seasoning, thyme or cumin might be good for chicken, or Old Bay seasoning for fish, or even add in some grated parmesan.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut up your chicken or fish or veggies into pieces and coat in buttermilk (if you are using bone-in chicken pieces, it helps to marinate in buttermilk at least a couple hours or overnight).
Put breading mix into a clean paper bag or large ziploc freezer bag. Add meat/fish a piece at a time and shake! If you're using something more delicate like avocado pieces, you might prefer to put mix in a dish and coat your pieces in the dish.
Place on greased baking sheet.
Bake until golden and cooked through, about 40-45 minutes for chicken pieces, 10-15 minutes for fish or chicken nuggets.
If you want to bread something for another time you can freeze your breaded unbaked pieces on a baking sheet, then once frozen keep in a ziploc bag. Do not thaw before baking.
Now you can make your own healthier version of crispy fish or chicken tacos!
Tacofino does offer delicious gluten-free taco options if you ask, by the way.
*photo by Sean Neild, at Flavor Town Adventures