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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Panko Crusted Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich with Buffalo Wing Sauce

In honour of the Canadian National Exhibition, cancelled this year due to covid, we do our take on a carny classic in cahoots with the A Year in Sandwiches blog.

Main photo by Julia Laxer

As any fan of summer fun and fairgrounds knows these great gatherings with their rides, concessions, entertainment and food are mostly being cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes one of the largest of them all in North America, Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) which was to have opened Friday, August 21.

In honour of the food we will all be missing out on, I have joined Trish Hennessy of the A Year in Sandwiches blog in a carny sandwich challenge. She is doing a Coney Island Dog and I will link to her recipe at the end of my post. Here is a preview:

Originally I had planned to do my take on a Thanksgiving Waffle Sandwich I once came across at the CNE -- and I may still do that along with another carny food take or two before Labour Day when the CNE traditionally ends -- but I have instead tackled a Panko Crusted Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich with Buffalo Wing Sauce. It is a beautiful thing!

To make this you need to start with boneless, skinless chicken breast cut thin (no more than half-an-inch thick) and into sandwich sized slices. You can do this yourself or, as I did, buy them pre-cut that way at your grocer.

Place your chicken in a large bowl and season liberally (or to taste) with the following:

Black pepper

Kosher or sea salt

Cayenne pepper

Garlic powder

Toss the chicken in the bowl until the seasoning is evenly distributed.

Then pour in enough buttermilk so that your chicken is just covered and place the chicken, bowl covered, in the fridge for at least an hour or up to 2 hours. The buttermilk will make the chicken very moist even after deep frying.

When you are almost ready to deep fry, place the following ingredients in three separate bowls:

All purpose flour seasoned with more sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne (around a teaspoon of each or to taste)

2 beaten eggs

Panko bread crumbs

You can use any breadcrumbs in theory, but Panko are the best. They produce a terrific texture and are less likely to burn.

Take your chicken out of the fridge and discard the buttermilk in the bowl.

Dip each cutlet into the flour first, then the egg wash and finally the Panko. You want to evenly coat with all three.

In a large saucepan heat at least an inch to two inches of canola or vegetable oil to frying temperature. This can take some practice if you have never done it, but you want to get the oil bubbling but not too hot. It will take a few minutes to heat to the right temperature. You do not want to put the breaded cutlets into oil that is too cool as they come out oily, while too hot can burn the coating before the inside is fully cooked. If you do not deep fry often you may want to do a test run on one cutlet first.

This is also why you want your cutlets relatively thin so that the chicken is full cooked quickly. Remember, for the record Health Canada says you want to heat chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.

Place your cutlets in the hot oil and deep fry them for around 3-4 minutes and then turn them once and deep fry for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. You want the cutlets to be spaced out in the pan, do not crowd them. They should not be touching or overly close in the oil. You will likely only be able to do 2 or 3 at a time so if your are making more just do them in batches.

You want the coating to come out crunchy and golden brown. If they are a little darker brown that is fine.

Let your cutlets sit for around 3-4 minutes before assembling your sandwich.

Meanwhile, pop a couple of frozen breakfast waffles per sandwich in the toaster and toast them until they are nicely browned and crunchy.

Place a cutlet in between two of the waffles. You can, at this point, simply pour a classic topping like honey on top and you are good to go. Piri-piri sauce is also very nice.

But here we are going to make some Buffalo wing sauce to drizzle over it. You can, of course, buy a sauce, but if you want to make a classic one it is easy and tasty.

While many recipes use Worcestershire Sauce, I prefer to use Soy Sauce. This is a matter of taste though, so feel free to use Worcestershire instead.

Also, while I generally don't use specific brands in my recipes, for the proper flavour you really do have to use Frank's Original Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce.

In a small pot combine the following ingredients:

1 cup Frank's Original Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce

1 heaping tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2-3 dashes cayenne pepper

Salt to taste if necessary (I find that it is salty enough)

Blend together over medium high heat until the butter is melted, stirring constantly. Then lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly but gently, for about 4-5 minutes.

Let cool a couple of minutes and it is good to go!

Pour this over your top waffle and voila! Carny perfection.

Amazing with an ice cold beer. It will definitely bring midway food to mind.

Our partner in this carny challenge, as we said above, is the amazing sandwich blog A Year in Sandwiches.

Here is a photo of her take on the classic carny Coney Island Dog:

See the full recipe at her website. It is a very good one!: Coney Island hot dog



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