Traditionally, the wings are tossed in a mixture of hot sauce and butter after they come out of the hot oil. But I didn't want to sog up my finished product, so I recommend dipping the finished baked nuggets, first in the hot sauce, then in the blue cheese. I think you will agree that this combo is a touchdown.
Start to finish: 2 hours 30 minutes (15 minutes active)
Makes 4 servings
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot sauce (my favorite for this recipe is Tabasco Chipotle), divided
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons buttermilk, divided
1 pound chicken tenders (or chicken breasts cut into 3-by-1-inch strips, 1/2-inch thick)
3/4 cup whole-wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, salt, 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce and 2 cups of the buttermilk. Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 10 hours.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with olive oil cooking spray.
In a shallow bowl combine the whole-wheat and panko breadcrumbs. In another small bowl, whisk together the remaining 6 tablespoons of buttermilk, the mayonnaise, blue cheese and lemon juice. Transfer to a ramekin for dipping. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of hot sauce into a second ramekin for dipping.
Use a colander to drain the chicken, but do not pat it dry. Dip each chicken piece in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure it is coated well on both sides. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, then spritz the tops with olive oil cooking spray.
Bake on the oven's middle shelf for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until they are just cooked through. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a platter. Serve with both dipping sauces.