Originally published October, 2008 on A Simple Walk.
More often than not, when we go out to eat I always check the appetizer section for a sampler platter. And if it sounds good, I usually order that in lieu of an actual dinner. I realize that isn’t necessarily healthy, but it is good and we go out to eat so infrequently that I figure it’s okay.
Although I guess I may have to change my thinking now that I’m making so many similar type meals at home. Once upon a time I was afraid of frying food at home. (It was probably a healthier time too.) But now that I’ve gotten over that fear, I experiment with different appetizer favorites all the time.
My newest success was a homemade sampler platter. It’s more of an old-fashioned style though because most restaurants now have much more exotic items in their appetizer repertoire. Ours consisted of pretzel chicken fingers, fried mozzarella wedges, fried zucchini, and fried mushrooms. (Wow, that sure sounds healthy, doesn’t it?)
Here is our sampler platter, in all of its greasy goodness.
And here are the recipes, just in case you’d like to try this recreation in your home.
Pretzel Chicken Fingers
- 1 lb. chicken breasts, pounded flat and cut into fingers
- 2 eggs
- 1 T. water
- 2 t. hot sauce
- 2 1/2 c. finely crushed pretzel crumbs
- 1 t. dried thyme
- 1 t. pepper
- Canola oil for frying
1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, water and hot sauce.
2. In a second shallow bowl, mix pretzel crumbs, thyme and pepper.
3. Dip chicken fingers in pretzels, then in eggs, then in pretzels again. For best results, coat the chicken early in the day and let sit in the refrigerator all day. This really helps the breading stay on when frying.
4. Fry chicken in 1 1/2″ of hot oil in a medium-sized skillet. Cook 5 minutes on the first side, 3-4 minutes on the second side.
5. Serve the chicken with any dipping sauces that you like. We really like ranch dressing or a cheese sauce.
- 1/2 lb. block mozzarella cheese, cut into thick slices (about 15)
- 1 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. garlic powder
- 1 t. Italian seasoning
- 1/4 t. pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 T. cold water
- dash hot sauce, optional
1. Mix the breadcrumbs and seasonings in a shallow bowl.
2. Whisk together the eggs, water and optional hot sauce.
3. Dip each cheese wedge in eggs, then breadcrumbs. Repeat twice for a total of 3 layers of batter.
4. Fry in 1″ hot oil in a skillet for 45 seconds. Flip and fry another 30-45 seconds.
Tempura Batter for Veggies
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup ice water
1. Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl, adding water a little at a time to desired consistency. (It should be like pancake batter.) Add any sliced veggies to the bowl and stir to coat. Keep refrigerated until ready to cook.
2. Fry in hot oil, about 45 seconds per side.
When I made this, I only used one pan and added a little new oil in between batches of different foods. I kept everything that was done in a 170 degree oven to keep warm while I worked on the rest. We only had ranch dressing on hand, but you could definitely get creative with the dipping sauces if you wanted.
Some other ideas to add to a homemade samplin‘ platter would be: quesadillas, nachos, potato skins, or onion strings (I had planned on adding these to our dinner, but I ran out of time). Here are some other recipes I’ve shared before that would also work well.