Fried Chicken Tacos from Turnip Greens and Tortillas

"Excerpted from TURNIP GREENS AND TORTILLAS © 2018 by Eddie Hernandez. Photographs © 2018 by Angie Mosier. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. --- The main component of this taco is no fancier than any Southern grandma’s fried chicken, but when you wrap the refried strips in a warm flour tortilla with Jalapeño-Lime Mayonnaise, the taste is unforgettable. I use this simple formula to create endless specials, such as the two popular variations that follow."
photo by Genius Kitchen photo by Genius Kitchen
photo by Genius Kitchen
photo by Genius Kitchen photo by Genius Kitchen
photo by Genius Kitchen photo by Genius Kitchen
Ready In:
16 tacos


  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 lbs chicken tenders
  • 1 recipe seasoned flour, for coating (recipe below)
  • 12 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 3 -4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 16 (6 inch) flour tortillas
  • Jalapeno-Lime Mayonnaise (1 cup)

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 14 cup lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno, roasted on a skillet without oil and stemmed (remove some or all of the seeds and membranes for less heat)
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Seasoned Flour Coating:

  • In a container, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour with 4 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Makes 2 cups.
  • NOTE: Texture is as important as flavor in my dishes—especially when it comes to tacos. My coating mixtures can be mixed and matched with various meats and vegetables before frying or sautéing, adding both flavor and crunch. They keep for 3 months tightly covered and are great to have on hand when you are short on ideas for dinner. Use as directed in the recipes that call for them, or swap them out. Then add gravy, a ribbon of flavored mayonnaise, or a drizzle of a simple sauce, and you have created your own masterpiece!
  • Jalapeño-Lime Mayonnaise:

  • Makes 2 1/4 cups.
  • Blending mayonnaise with hot chiles is a great way to soften the chiles’ flavor. Here are three variations on this pairing with distinctive results. I specify a blender for one and a food processor for the others, depending on how much texture I want. If I am going to squeeze the mayo through a bottle, then I want it as smooth as possible, but if I am going to spread it or spoon it on, I might want some little pieces. This is up to you.
  • Place the mayonnaise, lime juice, jalapeño, and salt in a blender and puree. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • Taco Recipe:

  • Place three medium bowls on your work surface. In the first bowl, whisk together the egg with the milk. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. You can do this the night before.
  • Place the seasoned flour in the second bowl. In the third bowl, toss the lettuce with the tomatoes.
  • Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a Dutch oven or deep, heavy pot over high heat until it is 350 degrees F.
  • Heat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  • Remove a few pieces of chicken from the milk, dredge in the flour, and shake off the excess. Gently place in the hot oil. Cook until light brown, crispy, and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to the paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining chicken. Allow the oil to return to 350 degrees F between batches.
  • Set a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and heat on both sides for a minute or two, until a few dark spots appear. Remove to a plate. Place 2 chicken tenders in the center of the tortilla, top with 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise and some of the lettuce and tomato, and fold. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
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