- 1 cup Unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- 2 cups Panko, fresh, or dried bread crumbs; (*see note)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan or pecorino cheese ; (or a combination of both), freshly grated
- 2 tablespoons Fresh Italian parsley ; finely minced (or, 1/2 tsp. dried Italian herbs)
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 4 Chicken breasts ; butterflied and lightly pounded
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 each Lemon ; sliced into wedges
- 4 each Fresh parsley sprigs ; (for garnish)
- — LEMON-BUTTER SAUCE (OPTIONAL) —
- 3 tablespoons Unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons Lemon juice ; fresh squeezed
Spread flour in shallow baking dish. Beat eggs with 1 tablespoon oil in second shallow baking dish. Mix bread crumbs, cheese and minced parsley in third shallow baking dish. Season each with salt and pepper.
Prepare chicken breast: Remove tenderloins (reserving for another use) and trim away any cartilage or visible fat. Place breast on cutting board with tip facing you and thinner side opposite your cutting hand. Hold breast firmly with palm of your free hand on top. Holding a knife parallel to board, carefully slice into thickest part of breast, drawing knife almost but not all the way through breast (take care to keep breast attached on one side). Open breast like a book, set between two sheets of heavy plastic wrap that have been lightly spritzed with water and gently pound to an even thickness, about 1/4- to 3/8-inch, with a meat mallet or rolling pin.
Season cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper, pressing seasonings into meat with your fingers. Bread cutlets one at a time. Dredge cutlets in flour, coating both sides and shaking off the excess. Then, using tongs, dip both sides of cutlets in egg mixture, letting excess drip back into baking dish to ensure very thin coating. Finally, dip both sides of cutlet in bread crumbs, pressing crumbs with fingers to form an even, cohesive coating. Place cutlets in single layer on wire rack set over baking sheet, allow coating to dry for about 5 minutes. (The recipe can be done ahead to this point; cover cutlets loosely with wax paper and refrigerate for up to one hour, or freeze for up to 1 month.)
Preheat two large nonstick saute pans over high heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil to each pan. Heat until butter is melted and sizzling. Place 2 cutlets in each pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-1/2 minutes. Flip over, reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking until golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes longer. Drain on rack set over a baking sheet, then transfer to a warm serving platter. Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with parsley sprigs.
For Lemon-Butter Sauce: Melt butter in pan, when foaming subsides, add lemon juice, swirlling to combine, and pour over cutlets, if desired.
* Note: If you choose to make your own bread crumbs:
– – 1 cup fresh bread crumbs – requires 3 slices bread – –
– – 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs – requires 4 slices bread – –
Use stale (but not moldy) bread, or bake bread slices in a slow oven (200 degrees F) until slightly dry (for fresh bread crumbs) or very dry (for dry bread crumbs), and allow to cool. Process the slices in a food processor, using a steel blade to make coarse crumbs, or a grating blade to make fine crumbs. Season with salt, herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, and/or lemon zest, if desired.
Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs have a coarser texture than ordinary bread crumbs, they make for a much lighter and crunchier coating for deep-fried foods. Fresh coarse bread crumbs make for a coating that is a little heavier and has less crunch than a panko coating. Dry fine bread crumbs make for a coating that is even more dense and doesn’t stay crisp as long a panko coating.
Though Parmesan is the traditional cheese to use in this dish, you can substitute Pecorino Romano cheese for a stronger, more tangy flavor. The cheese is quite susceptible to burning, so be sure to keep a very close eye on the cutlets as they cook.
Pre-breaded Chicken Milanese freezes quite well; consider making a double batch, one for now, one for a quick meal later in the week or on a busy night when you don’t have much time. To freeze and have ready-to-fry Chicken Milanese; place breaded cutlets onto baking sheets covered with wax paper or parchment paper and place in the freezer until firm. Then, place frozen cutlets in a plastic bag and keep frozen (up to 1 month) until ready to fry.