I think it’s pretty wild stuff how our brains work. You hear a word and ninety nine times out of a hundred, the mental image pops up immediately. So when I say, “popcorn chicken”, a box of KFC filled with tiny chicken bites is the most likely picture supplied. Right? But what the hell does that name even mean? Well, don’t ask me why, because no matter where the name originated, popcorn chicken is all I wanted for dinner last night.
Stock this new image away in your memory banks, and be sure to try this one out at home! Because instead of stopping at KFC or even breading up some tiny bites of my own, I took a more literal approach to the dish and man was it awesome. By grinding a few cups of popcorn with a cup or so of roasted almonds, I created a delicious and fragrant “breading” for these pounded thin chicken breasts. With just a touch of parmesan the popcorn piece to this meal was definitely prominent. What an awesome flavor and texture! And for a little extra crunch and a bit of a flavor burst, this apple, carrot, and honey slaw was the perfect topping.
I love the idea of playing with perception and expectation for a fun dining experience. And while there are a number of restaurants that do this with amazing success you can just as easily do it at home. So what other dishes would this type of mind trick be perfect for? Send in some suggestions and I’ll get to work!