Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad and Slaw

One of my favorite dishes is Buffalo chicken wings, that irresistible combination of deep fried chicken wings tossed in hot sauce with a side of blue cheese dipping sauce and celery sticks. I’m also crazy about veal Milanese—veal dipped in egg and Parmesan breadcrumbs and then sautéed—especially when it’s topped with a green salad.

This recipe combines the ingredients of the first recipe with the concept of the second. Triscuits make a unique crust, and by soaking the chicken in buttermilk first you ensure that the meat remains moist. (A trick my southern viewers taught me when I first started frying chicken on the show.) I threw the celery and blue cheese into the slaw along with the hot sauce.

This slaw would also go great with any grilled meat or chicken in the summer. But be sure to toss it at the last minute because it gets watery if it sits around. If you are worried about calories, use low-fat mayonnaise and low-fat sour cream. The substitution won’t affect the flavor much.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 ounces each
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
3 to 4 large carrots, coarsely grated
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 box Triscuit crackers, ground in a food processor, or 2 cups fresh bread crumbs (from 4 to 5 slices firm white bread)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Serves 4

Separate the tenders (the little flap of meat attached to the breast) from each of the breasts. Sprinkle a small amount of water on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Working in batches, place the breast halves and tenders on top of the plastic and sprinkle again with water. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or a meat pounder until about 1/8 inch thick. Whisk the buttermilk and half of the hot sauce in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the slaw. Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, and blue cheese in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Season with the remaining half of the hot sauce and salt and pepper. You should have about 1 cup dressing. Just before cooking the chicken, toss the cabbage, carrots, and celery with about 3/4 cup of the dressing. Reserve the remaining, 1/4 cup dressing for serving.

Put the Triscuit crumbs in a shallow bowl or plate. Lift the breasts and tenders one at a time and drain off any excess buttermilk. Dip into the crumbs and turn to coat on all sides.

Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add half the chicken and cook, turning once or twice until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.

Divide the chicken among 4 plates, drizzle each with some of the reserved dressing, and top with a spoonful of the slaw. Serve warm or at room temperature with any remaining dressing or slaw on the side.

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