Of all the characters in Firefly, Hoban Washburne is my all-time favorite. “Wash”—as he’s known by the crew of Serenity—is the ship’s pilot and resident goofball. There’s lots to love about Wash, but I think the best thing about him is how different he is from the rest of the crew, who’re all hard-bitten warriors (including his wife, Zoe).
When we first meet Wash, he’s playing with dinosaur toys at the helm of Serenity, acting out a narrative in which a T-Rex horribly betrays a kind-hearted stegosaurus. Like many people, this was the moment when I knew I was going to love his character, so I decided to make a dish in honor of his dinos!
These homemade dino nuggets are made from thin-cut chicken breast cut into shape with dinosaur cookie cutters, coated in bread crumbs, and baked. The ketchup recipe is one I found in a Zagat video, and I LOVE it! It’s more tomato-y than storebought ketchup and super easy to make!
Wash’s Dino Nuggets
“Mine is an evil laugh!”
“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”
- For the Nuggets
- 1 lb thin-cut chicken breast (I thought I was going to have to thin-cut my own chicken breasts, but when I got to the store, they actually had some that were already thinned! If you need to go with regular chicken breasts, though, here’s some info on how to thin them yourself.)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- You will also need some dinosaur cookie cutters (metal works best)
- For the Ketchup
- 2 heaping cups grape tomatoes
- a drizzle of olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 splashes apple cider vinegar
- 2 dashes cayenne pepper
Makes 5-9 dino nuggets (depending on the size of your cookie cutters) and 1/2 cup ketchup
- Preheat your oven to 375°. Cover 2 baking sheets with wire racks. Cut your tomatoes in half and arrange them on the racks. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on the salt (it’s ok if a bit falls through the gaps in the rack). Roast for 30-35 minutes—rotating the pans halfway through—or until a few of the tomatoes are just beginning to darken around the edges. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender. Add the apple cider vinegar and cayenne. Blend until smooth and taste. Add extra vinegar, salt, and/or cayenne if necessary (I didn’t add any extra, but I also wanted just a hint of heat). Transfer the ketchup to a small bowl and set aside.
- Use your cookie cutters to cut dinosaur shapes from your chicken (how many you get will depend on how big your cutters are). In a small bowl, crack and whisk your egg. In another small bowl, mix together your salt, pepper, and bread crumbs.
- Dredge your dinosaur shapes first in the egg, then the bread crumb mix. Arrange the shapes on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm while waiting for the Captain to tell you where you’re flying off to next!