Last week, we started off the 52-Week Recipe Challenge with a dessert. This week, let's shift gears and prepare a main meal recipe for chicken Milanese.

This might be a good time for me to make a confession to you readers. I seldom eat red meat, so most of my main dish recipes center on chicken and ground turkey. As a result, I'm constantly looking for new recipes featuring these two protein staples. A few months ago, while googling "chicken recipes," I came across some for chicken Milanese that caught my attention. I had never made it before. I learned that chicken Milanese is a type of chicken cutlet that originated in Milan, Italy. Initially, veal was used, but over time different types of protein, including chicken, have been substituted.

Two recipes in particular caught my attention. One was from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, and the other from Sara of dinneratthezoo.com. They both looked good and were similar but had a few small differences, so I ended up blending the two together for this recipe. My family gives this an overall rating of 9 out of 10. Trust me – with my picky family, that's a high rating!

I like this recipe because it is fairly easy and fast to prepare, so it's great for a work-night dinner. You can use either skinless/boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs. You'll be breading the chicken and lightly pan-frying it. I've found that one of the secrets to this recipe can prove to be a real bonus in this COVID-19 bubble we are all living in. To get the most out of this recipe you must beat the heck out of the chicken to flatten it out. So, as you whack away, think of all the fun things this pandemic is stopping you from enjoying and whack even harder!

The recipe includes a salad that you can either pile on top of the cutlet, or serve as a side dish. As an extra bonus, you can make a great sandwich with leftover cutlets.

Let me know how you and your family like the recipe!

Week 2: Chicken Milanese

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the chicken

2 to 2 1/2 pounds of either skinless/boneless chicken thighs or breasts

1/3 cup of whole milk

3 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 to 3 tablespoons of butter

2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, cut into wedges

For the salad

2 to 3 cups fresh arugula, (you can substitute with spinach or lettuce)

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup of halved cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh Parmesan shavings

2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

Steps

1. If using chicken breast, place your palm against the top of each breast and very carefully slice it in half horizontally. Place each piece of chicken between 2 sheets of either parchment paper or plastic wrap and, using the smooth side of a mallet, a heavy pan or a rolling pin, pound the chicken until it is very thin. When you think they are thin enough – give them a few more good whacks! They need to be thin!

2. Whisk the milk and eggs together and pour into a shallow dish.** Place the flour into another shallow dish and mix in some salt and pepper to taste. Mix the seasoned breadcrumbs with the panko breadcrumbs and pour into a third shallow dish.

3. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken pieces, then one at a time dredge both sides of the chicken into the flour, then quickly dunk both sides into the egg mixture, then coat both sides with the breadcrumbs. Lay each piece on a plate until you're ready to cook them.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When it's melted and hot, add 2 pieces of the breaded chicken and cook, flipping once, until the breading is golden brown and the chicken is cooked, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate.*** Add another tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and cook 2 more pieces of chicken. Continue until all the chicken is cooked.

5. Sprinkle the cooked chicken with a little kosher salt and shredded Parmesan cheese, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Squeeze lemon juice on each cutlet just before eating. A few drops of lemon juice really help to accent the flavor!

6. Add all the salad ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. You can serve the salad on top of the cutlet, or as a side dish.

* I usually use Italian breadcrumbs. Pay-Less supermarkets carry them.

** I use 8" or 9" round cake pans.

*** I preheat the oven to 190 degrees then put the plated cooked chicken inside to keep it warm until I'm finished with all the chicken.

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