My recipe is inspired by the Academy Awards Best Picture-nominated film Fences:
Fences is based on a play by August Wilson. It’s about a Pittsburgh trash collector named Troy (played by Denzel Washington) and his relationships with his wife, son and family members.
Viola Davis plays Rose, Troy’s wife. What I loved about her character was her poise, her hospitable nature, and her willingness to put her family first. (I think her love language would be making food for people!)
Several times throughout the movie, she made food for her family and visitors. She made chicken twice.
I wanted to create an appetizer inspired by some of the foods she served. Chicken and waffles came to mind.
About The Recipe
These appetizer bites are full of great flavors:
Crispy mini waffle base
A drizzle of maple syrup
Buttermilk fried chicken
Spicy sriracha mayonnaise
A bread and butter pickle on top
Each bite has crunch, sweet, sour, and spicy.
Although I recommend making the chicken yourself (it was my first time making buttermilk fried chicken and it wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated), you can buy ready-made chicken tenders and cut them into bite-sized pieces. I’m all about shortcuts when you’re throwing a party!
Check out my past Academy Awards-inspired recipes:
Short on time? Want the super simple version of this recipe? Purchase fried chicken strips instead of making them from scratch.
For chicken marinade:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For coating chicken:
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying (enough to submerge chicken in... 1 to 2 cups for a small pan)
For assembling waffle bites:
1 package mini frozen waffles (I used Udi's Gluten Free mini waffles)
Bread and butter pickles
Sriracha mayonnaise (2 parts mayonnaise to 1 part sriracha sauce)
Marinade chicken: Cut each chicken breast in half the long way, and cut each half into approximately 9 pieces. You want chicken nugget-size pieces of chicken. Combine chicken pieces with buttermilk and spices, and place in a zip-lock bag. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Fry chicken: Remove chicken pieces from buttermilk marinade. In one bowl, beat egg and buttermilk; add half the spices. In another bowl, combine flour with the remaining spices. Heat oil over high heat. You'll know that the chicken is ready to fry when it sizzles when dipped in the oil.
Take one piece of chicken, dip it in the egg mixture, and then dip it in the flour mixture. Place chicken into the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Fry 4 or 5 pieces of chicken at the same time. Repeat until all the chicken is fried. Place fried chicken on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. If you aren't immediately assembling the waffle bites, keep chicken warm in a 300-degree oven.
Assemble waffle bites: Toast mini waffles according to package directions. Drizzle a small amount of maple syrup on waffles. Top each waffle with a piece of fried chicken. Drizzle with sriracha mayonnaise. Top with a pickle and serve.