Oven Fried Chicken Fingers and more

Charlotte Cooks

Oven Fried Chicken with Fresh Cole Slaw, Mango Salsa and Salt and Vinegar Roasted Potatoes


Oven Fried Chicken

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into fingers
  • 2 cups buttermilk + 2 additional cups, keep separated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups panko
  • 2 Tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • ¼ cup Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F

Cut the chicken into fingers.

Marinade 30 minutes in 2 cups buttermilk.

Remove from buttermilk and pat dry.

Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Set up a standard breading station.
3 containers:
#1 is flour
#2 is 2 cups buttermilk
#3 is seasoned panko (season the panko with Montréal steak seasoning)

Here’s the set up:

Pan #1: Flour, seasoned    Pan #2 Buttermilk    Pan #3 Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs   Pan#4 Sheet pan for breaded chicken

Dredge each finger in flour, then buttermilk, then panko. Making sure each finger is well coated on all sides.

As each finger is coated, place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Drizzle each finger with a small bit of olive oil.

Place sheet pan in oven and bake the chicken until golden brown; usually about 20 minutes.

Ovens vary so watch yours.

The internal temperature should reach 165°F on a food thermometer.

Keep warm in a 150° oven. Do not cover so the chicken remains crispy.


  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • There are 2 kinds of rice vinegar; seasoned (with salt and sugar) and unseasoned. Read the labels and choose seasoned for this recipe.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound bag of tri-color coleslaw mix
    • Or thinly slice cabbage, carrots and some red cabbage for about 1 pound total weight.
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Choose a large bowl; Allow lots of stirring room.

Slice scallions, place into the bottom of the bowl.

Add the celery seed, mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, sugar and whisk to smooth.

Slice the cabbages and carrots and add to the dressing.

Stir to coat.

Adjust flavors with salt and pepper if needed.

Allow to sit for at least one hour in the refrigerator before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Stir well before serving.

Mango Salsa

  • 1 pound mango slices, fresh or jarred mango, cut into medium dice
  • ½ sweet onion, small dice (like Vidalia)
  • 1 small diced jalapeno,
  • ½ cup sweet grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • ½ bunch chopped cilantro
  • ½ bunch chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cut all fruits and vegetables, combine everything in a bowl and serve.

Salt and Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

  • 3-4 small red potatoes per person
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 ounces Malt vinegar (you may use more or less depending upon your taste)

Place the potatoes into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil.

Salt water once boiling begins.

Cook until done.

Drain and place on a clean kitchen towel.

Cover and whack each potato with a rolling pin to break it open but not smash it flat.

Place the smashed potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil.

Place in the 400° and bake about 35-40 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown and the skins are crispy.

Remove from the oven, place in a serving bowl.

Sprinkle salt and malt vinegar over the potatoes and serve warm.

“. . . Just want to be a cook”

“I just want to be a normal person, hell, screw normal people, I really just want to be a cook.”

Anthony Bourdain
“Out of the Fire and into the Pan” Travel Channel

Being a cook is truly a unique lifestyle. The lifestyle Anthony talks about in his book Kitchen Confidential is one full of alcohol, drugs and hard living. His almost comic descriptions of the lifestyle do represent some of the lives encountered while working in a professional kitchen.

Last week one of my students asked me how it felt to be the only lady of the bunch, referring to the all male faculty where I teach culinary school. My response was, “It has always been that way, I really don’t think of myself as the only female, but as part of a team.” Culinary folks are a tight bunch; competitive, but close to their teammates.

Tony describes the drinking games and goading between so-called rival  kitchens that take place in the wee hours of the morning. Certainly these must contribute to some kind of bonding between workers. Cooking is a tough job, you feel it through your bones, your entire being gets caught up in the work of serious cooking. If that doesn’t happen for you while you cook, you are not in the right place.

It becomes like a dance between cooks, reaching, passing, plating, presenting; you know what your neighboring cook is going to do next by movements and you’ve seen each dish played out a thousand times. You know how to move in a hot, noisy, very busy kitchen, observation tells you most of what you need to know while you listen carefully for the next “Order In! or “Pick Up!” call to see if it is for your station or not. Cooking like this is a bonding experience all in itself. The line-cook cowboys.

The fire, the steam, the sizzle, the splatter, the heat, the aromas all become addicting. Like every other addiction, it can also destroy you. Obesity, alcoholism, drug addictions, divorce, gambling. . .wicked vices you have to be aware of and smarter than in order to survive.

People can talk about how good a chef/cook they are but in reality it is about what you can do. Male or female. Females are at a disadvantage , always have been. A female really needs to know what she is doing and be strong enough to carry it through. There will always be  male pigs around, the industry attracts them like flies. So as a female, you learn real fast how to take care of yourself. And how be really, really good at what you do, not to whine or cry or get tired. At least in front of them.

Because of the lack of “bar bonding” with the crews I worked with, present co-workers included, there is a parameter where our relationships end. That for me is once I am in the car, I am on my own time and do not need to prove myself at any “thirsty Thursday” events.

My bones can feel the work, the long hours on concrete floors over hot ranges and ovens. Being a line cook is for younger people. It is great fun for a while, but not forever. The food industry has so many other things you can do and still play with food. You just don’t have to sweat as much or work at a constant break-neck speed. I did that once and do not have to prove my ability anymore. Frankly, I’m too old for that. As I mentioned earlier, line cooking is for the younger generation, that cowboy/pirate breed with good knife skills.

I see so many young kids come into my office and say “I want to be a chef” and be so timid, shy and unsure of themselves. There is not a chance in hell they will ever make it in any kitchen. Not all of them have the capability of becoming a chef. Some are only cut out to be cooks at best. But who am I to squash a dream?

So I train them, test them and send them out into the world armed with the safe knowledge and experiences from culinary school. Some have been part of a competition team or competed on their own.  They get overblown egos from those kind of experiences. The world eats them alive once the get out there and then again, some survive. And a few end up doing very well.

A cooks life is not for everyone. To survive, you need to be aware of and stronger than the temptations and vices laid out before you in irresistible ways. Food is a temptation, it is seductive, it is addicting. You have to know that going in and perhaps most of all this is what draws us to food in the first place. The temptations, the seductiveness and the addictions; the challenge is far from being a normal person.

That’s the last thing I would call Anthony Bourdain.

Why Spoon Feast?

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”

~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

Hammered Spoons

Spoons! The first utensil we learn to eat with is my favorite way to taste and eat. A spoon cradles the food, carries the sauce and tips into your mouth with an elegance a fork misses.

Spoons are collected, neglected and are inspired into many uses. Use the back as a mirror, clap them together to make music and conjure silliness by hanging them off the end of your nose.

A spoon is the best for digging into a bowl of ice cream in the summer or a nice warm comforting bowl of soup in the winter.

On Spoon Feast you will find ways to improve your techniques and skills, discover interesting recipes, some simple and some challenging.

Discover flavors and textures, what they are and how to use them.

Find out how to grow your own herbs so you always have an abundance of fresh herbs for cooking and wonderful recipes to use fresh herbs from your garden.

Eating locally and globally will be explored both for the home cook and the foodies who like to eat out on the town.

Let the adventures begin! Get your spoons ready, we’ve got a lot of tasting to do.