Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Breaded Chicken Cutlets

Everybody seems to love breaded chicken cutlets, young and old. They take a bit of last minute effort, but they're worth it. They're a far cry from the chicken "nuggets" you get a fast food places, especially if you add some parmesan cheese to the bread crumb mixture. The cheese adds so much flavor and crunch after they're fried. Look at that crispy crust. Don't you want to dive in? 

I don't make them that often, but when I do, I don't skip any of these three steps -- dredge the chicken first in flour, then egg and last breadcrumbs. 

I always pound the chicken breasts first to make them a uniform thickness. Then coat them in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into the beaten egg, and finally coat them with the breadcrumbs. Use panko - the Japanese shredded bread flakes - or regular bread crumbs. 

I fry my cutlets in a cast iron skillet, using a layer of shallow layer of vegetable oil. But I've also been known to use a mixture of olive oil and butter too.

Whichever you use - slip the cutlets carefully into the skillet. Give each side a few minutes to brown and cook. 

They're always a hit, whether you're serving children or adults. If you want to gild the lily, you can top it with some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, then run it in a high oven (400 degrees) for a few minutes to let the cheese melt.

But I like mine just plain, with a squirt of lemon and a salad on the side.

or serve them with a platter of green veggies for a nice color contrast.

And here's another way to make them, where they're brined first, then baked in the oven and served with a lemon/garlic/parsley sauce. I may try this the next time. They look delicious.

Even if you don't want to make chicken cutlets this way, do yourself a favor and watch the loving interaction between a young man and his 90-year-old Sicilian grandmother, living in Brooklyn. It will bring smiles to your face. Stay with it to the end and it will bring tears to your eyes.

Breaded Chicken Cutlets

3-4 chicken cutlets

1 cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup seasoned panko, or regular bread crumbs, or more as needed (I season my own bread crumbs with salt, pepper, dried basil, and garlic powder)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup cooking oil (or a mixture of olive oil and butter)

Pound the chicken cutlets to make them a uniform thickness. Beat the eggs with a couple of tablespoons of water. Place the flour in a plate and do the same with the beaten eggs and the panko.

Dredge the chicken cutlets first in the flour, then shake off any excess. Dip it into the egg, then the panko. Heat the skillet (I use a cast iron skillet about 10 inches in diameter) and add the oil (and /or butter.) Fry the cutlets in the mixture and turn once, when golden brown. Remove to a platter. Use more oil as needed to fry remaining cutlets. Serve with lemon wedges.

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