Cordon Bleu Chicken Fingers

Or as our guest sailor today would call them, “Doigts de Poulet Cordon Bleu.”  Ace and his dad Wendell joined us today to see how fast we could cross Lake Pontchartrain, sailing to New Orleans and back.  Your Galley Pirate wasn’t quite sure what eleven year olds eat, and surveyed several scalleywags who reliably reported “chicken fingers.”  Then we were reminded that Ace spends most of his school day speaking french, and might have more affinity for B’haute Cuisine than your average swab.  So we made it Cordon Bleu, and made Ace the tactician for the day.

Cordon Bleu Chicken Fingers

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12 chicken tenderloins
8 ounces thin-sliced deli ham
12 slices Swiss cheese
2-1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup flour
Sea salt and ground black pepper
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Here’s the big jibe rounding the mark just outside New Orleans — Ace ordering his grinder (dad) to get that jib in!  This was a welcome change in point of sail for your Galley Pirate because it was 1pm, crew was getting hungry, and this is what it looked like in the galley:

Hard to set up breading stations when you’re beating to wind and heeled over that far.  So … the following instructions are in order according to what I could do before the change, and what had to wait until the glorious calm of a beam reach home.

When folks told me “kids eat chicken fingers” I went looking for a recipe, because you do NOT eat prepared frozen food in my galley if I can help it.  I found a Martha Stewart recipe for ham-wrapped chicken fingers and thought “Arrrrr, you add Swiss cheese and you got Cordon Bleu!”  Et, voila: place a piece of ham (or two…mine were small, and two stacked as shown was the right sized to wrap), break a piece of cheese in half and put one on the bottom and the other on top of a chicken tenderloin.  Wrap the ham around the whole thing and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet.  Preheat your galley oven to 375 degrees.

Do what you can to set up your breading stations, get sides together … really anything you can do before the Captain calls a tack and gets you back on an even keel.  Beat the eggs with a splash of water in one bowl; season the flour with a couple of teaspoons of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper in another bowl.

When you’re safely back to parallel, melt the butter (I used a metal pie pan so that I could just stick it in my preheating oven) and combine with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.  Dredge each ham packet first in flour, then in egg, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing it on to coat.  Place back on the parchment lined sheet until all are done.

Pop in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes (I usually add five minutes to get the wee oven back up to temperature after opening it to put them in) — when the breadcrumbs are lightly-browned and the chicken is cooked through (cut into one … Pirate’s prerogative.)

While the fingers are baking, mix the yogurt and Dijon together for a dipping sauce.  Plate with some raw vegetables that the kid can throw overboard, but reply honestly to his mother later that he was served vegetables.

Serve to a hungry crew and watch the afternoon reach-naps ensue!


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