I’m jumping right into the cooking portion of todays post. Only because the recipe is a bit on the long side, but don’t let that discourage you. This technique is beneficial and one that should be added to your cooking repertoire.
So let’s get to it. The dish is Chicken Milanese. Or chicken in the style of Milan. The name references foods that have been dipped in beaten egg and dredged in a combination of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese then fried in butter. Sounds yummy right? Any time you see a food described as “alla Milanese” or “in the style of Milan”, you will now know it’s food that is breaded and fried.
Usually meat are cooked alla Milanese. And it’s usually meat that has been lightly pounded so it’s thin enough that it will cook quickly and the delicate, breaded coating won’t burn. Veal can be cooked this way as well as pork chops and boneless, skinless chicken breast. The coating, along with being crispy and delicious, helps keep the meat moist during the quick cooking time.
I mentioned before that the recipe is a bit lengthy, but it’s really a series of small steps that can be done ahead so you don’t have to do everything at once and feel overwhelmed. The salad is a quickly thrown together bonus that marries well with the fried meat. Piling the lightly dressed salad atop the chicken allows the acidity of the dressing and pickled onions to mingle with the warm meat so no other dressing is needed.
What I’ll do now is explain how I broke this recipe up into smaller steps. The recipe is included at the end of this post.
Start small, use 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast. Once butterflied and separated you will have 8 cutlets which is a good serving amount for 4 people. The night before cooking butterfly each breast and separate so that you now have 8 thin cutlets. Place a cutlet inside a ziplock bag and lightly pound cutlet just to even out. You can use a rolling-pin or the bottom of a small pan to do this. Set the cutlets aside.
Set up a standard breading station: 3 medium-sized shallow containers-one to hold the flour, another for the lightly beaten eggs and the last one for the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture. A good way to remember the sequence is FEB (flour, egg, breadcrumbs). Have ready a large sheet pan or a container large enough to hold the breaded cutlets in just about one layer a little overlapping is ok.
Lightly salt and pepper the cutlets on both sides. Take one cutlet and lightly coat with flour-shake off excess. Now dip into beaten egg, removing excess egg if necessary. The egg should not be thick just a light layer to help the breadcrumbs adhere. Lay cutlets in breadcrumb mixture and pat breadcrumbs all over both sides of the cutlet covering completely. Put the breaded cutlet in the reserved container. Do this procedure until all the cutlets are breaded. Cover the container or wrap tightly and keep refrigerated until ready to cook the next day.
Now you have most of the work done. The next day all you have to do is pickle the onions and fry the cutlets. I will stop here and you can just follow the rest of the recipe when you’re ready to fry the cutlets.. Please give this recipe a try. Once you’ve done it the first time the next time you won’t even need the recipe. It’s that easy.
Recipe: Chicken Milanese with arugula and pickled onion salad
Arugula and pickled onion salad:
1 small red onion sliced very thin
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tspn sugar
salt and pepper to taste
a few drops of hot sauce or sriracha (optional)
mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let sit in fridge at least one hour.
3 cups loosely packed baby arugula
When the chicken is done and you are ready to eat with clean hands toss the arugula with the pickled onions and dress lightly with some of the pickling juice. Make a nice pile of salad on each chicken breast you are serving. Drizzle over some of the pickling juice if you like.
4 organic chicken breast butterflied and sliced through so you have 8 separate thin cutlets
salt and pepper
2 cups of flour
3 eggs mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and lightly beaten
2 cups plain or flavored breadcrumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese finely grated and mixed in with breadcrumbs
oil for frying (peanut or vegetable)
Note: If you have already breaded your cutlets and have them waiting we’ll start with the frying of the cutlets. If you did not prep your cutlets see the explanation of how to bread the cutlets before the recipe on this post.
Cooking the cutlets:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and have a half sheet pan ready with a wire rack inside the pan. You may need 2 set ups like this.
In a large frying pan or cast iron skillet heat about 1 cup of oil over medium heat until oil is shimmering. You can test if oil is hot by dipping a small end of a cutlet in the oil if it starts to fry immediately the oil is ready. Fry 3 or 4 breaded cutlets at a time but make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. If you can only fit 3 just do 3. Over crowding will prevent cutlets from getting crispy and browned. Fry about 2 minutes on first side until chicken is golden brown. Flip over and cook an additional 2 minutes. Drain off excess oil on cutlets and place on prepared sheet pan. Cook remaining cutlets in this manner, placing on sheet pan in oven as cooked. Serve warm topped with pickled onions and arugula salad and some of the pickling juice drizzled over. Serves 4.