Mmmmmmm crispy chicken cutlets, how could you not like it? Fried in a generous amount of olive oil, lotsa crunch, a little greasy, salty. Superb.
This is one of the only applications of a chicken breast I’m enthusiastic about. If ya didn’t know, I’m more of a thigh girl. And while you can certainly do this with a thigh, and I do, it’s a bit more of a fuss to pound it out and get it evenly thin, so we’ll be dealing with the breast for now. My main problem with chicken breast is that it gets easily dried out and has no flavor, but the fact that this is fried and aggressively seasoned with salt helps resolve both those issues.
This can certainly be eaten alone with a wedge of lemon, like I did here, or served with a simple salad on top, a base for chicken parm if you’re into that, whatever. Once you have that crispy chicken I trust you’ll figure it out.
This is one of the only applications of a chicken breast I’m enthusiastic about. If ya didn’t know, I’m more of a thigh girl. And while you can certainly do this with a thigh, and I do, it’s a bit more of a fuss to pound it out and get it evenly thin, so we’ll be dealing with the breast for now.
I like any recipe using bread crumbs cause I can use up those last bits of sourdough bread I have stashed in the freezer. And, while I’m a fan of making my own bread crumbs for this, you can certainly buy some. I would just recommend getting panko style breadcrumbs. That’ll give you the crispy crunch your looking for here. You don’t want those store bough bread crumbs that have the texture of sand, it’s too fine, you need the texture of panko or the fresh stuff.
Crispy Chicken Cutlets
emphasis on the crispy
- Bread crumbs – make em yourself or use some store bought panko
- Oil for pan frying – I used olive oil for this specific instance, but canola also works if you need a more neutral flavor
- Lemon – garnish
- Corse Salt – Jacobsen is pretty good, or Terroir I also like
First step, get your bread into crumb form. Go about this however you like, either get a few torn up pieces into the food processor or buy some good quality panko, either way it’ll be delish.
Next up, prep that chicken. You can certainly buy some thin cutlets if you like, or even better, get your butcher to do it for you. I like to do this myself, just cause. First, get it butterflied. Get the breast on your cutting board, place one hand firmly on top to hold it in place, and with you other knifed hand, slowly cut that breast in half, just keep the knife parallel to the cutting board and go slowly. You can either cut all the way through if you want smaller cutlets, or almost all the way through, like I did here, to get a nice big one.
You then want to pound that breast out to get it even thinner. It’ll also make the the cutlet super tender. Once again, go slowly here, there’s no rush. I like to put my chicken between two pieces of parchment paper and with a meat pounder, small pot or mini cast iron, start pounding it with a down and out motion, you’re thinning the meat here, not smashing it to a pulp. So while you need to be firm, you also want to be gentle at the same time. I like to aim for a little under a centimeter, but do whatever you have the patience for. Just try and get the entire cutlet to the same thickness, that way it’ll cook evenly.
Ok, the fussy chicken bit is done. Now you can get your flour, eggs and breadcrumbs into separate containers so we can start coating the chicken. Make sure to dry off your super thin chicken cutlets and season both sides with some salt. Then dip them into the flour, shake off any excess, then right into the beaten eggs, letting any excess run off, and then into your breadcrumbs. Be sure to get lots of breadcrumbs on everything, press em in a bit, that’s the good stuff.
Now that your chicken is all coated, it’s time to fry. Get a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Once it’s hot add in a generous bit of olive oil, or whatever other oil you want to use, and once it’s doing that nice shimmer thing hot oil does, gently lay that chicken cutlet in. Be sure to shake the pan at first to make sure nothing is sticking and you have the bottom fully coated with oil. When you see the edges getting golden brown and the top part of the chicken turning opaque, you can go ahead and flip. Cook for another few minutes until both sides are a deep golden brown.
Pull the chicken from your pan and place it on some paper towel to drain off any excess oil and be sure to season with some coarse salt right away. You want the salt to stick to the hot chicken. You can also go ahead and wipe out any remaining bits from your pan if you’re making another breast, add in some fresh oil and get frying again.
I like to serve this with a nice lemon wedge, to brighten everything up, or I like to serve some salad on top, specifically a fennel salad but that’s for another post…Eat up!