An Ode to the Mighty Chicken Cone

by Marina Chotzinoff

For years I had been under the impression that one did not cook avocados. Rumor had it they would turn bitter and thus I had never tried “avocado fries” and avoided putting avocado directly on any hot food. We did once covet a deep fried eel and avocado roll at a wonderful subterranean sushi bar in San Francisco. But only the outside was crispy and hot while the rice was warm and the inside stayed a prefect room temperature.

And then I read a recipe in Food & Wine for a Hot-and-Crunchy Chicken Cone from the Mighty Cone food truck in Austin. It looked amazing and so we hunted it down the next time we were down there. The first time I experienced the sweet, crunchy chicken cone I avoided the avocado add-on and crunched away happily enjoying the nutty, sweet chicken and creamy slaw. But the next time I went, I decided to try the crunchy avocado and now I don’t know how I lived without it. Crunchy, creamy, nutty and a perfect addition to the sandwich.

When this week’s Food52 contest was “your best avocado” I knew I wanted to try an appetizer that encompassed this crunchy, sweet, nutty avocado in all its glory. And because I did not want to go through all the trouble for just a few avocado slices, I grabbed some chicken breasts too.

For the avocado appetizer I decided to wrap the avocados in carrot ribbons tucking some veggies inside and dipping into the sauce. This is how they turned out:

I had not removed the seeds from the jalapeño and, thus, the left half of mouth and lips were numb from the initial pain for about half an hour. So I adjusted the rest and was eventually able to enjoy them. The crunch held up for a long time and the avocado was creamy and delicious. I then moved on to the chicken, dredging and frying in a similar manner. This is the basic recipe:

1.5 cups corn flakes
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds (black and white look best)
1/4 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut
pinches red pepper flakes or chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
flour for dredging
1 egg
splash milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 carrot, sliced into thin ribbons
1 jalapeño, sliced thinly into rounds or strips
1 cucumber, cut into thin spears
8 cilantro stalks
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon sweet chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 inch oil for frying
2 avocados

Pulse corn flakes, coconut, almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor to a coarse crumb. Put into a shallow bowl. Put flour into a second bowl and whisk egg, milk and honey in a third bowl.

Heat oil over medium heat to about 325.

Cut avocados in half, remove pit and scoop flesh from skin using a large spoon. Cut into 6-8 pieces. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture then nut mixture.

Mix mayo, lime, chili sauce and s&p to taste.

Fry avocado slices in oil very briefly until crust browns, flipping once and draining on paper towels. Allow to cool a bit.

Place a jalapeño slice, cucumber spear and cilantro leaf on each avocado slice and wrap with a carrot ribbon. Serve with dipping sauce.

For the wraps, I just put the chicken and veggies in a tortilla heated over the stove’s flame with some of the dipping sauce drizzled on top. My version is a lot less sweet and I really liked the addition of coconut. I was considering mixing crystallized ginger into the crust as well but was out. Blast! But this version was good and I have a pile of leftovers which is always exciting.

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