The breaded cutlet is a venerable meal made all over the world using a variety of meats, most commonly veal, pork, or chicken. The chicken cutlet — which is found in America from fast food chains to red sauce joints, deli counters to fine-dining establishments — is an iconic American dish, readily available in every region, though the secret to the most succulent chicken cutlet is often ignored in a most obvious place: the chicken itself. Or, more precisely, the cut of chicken. Most use a fillet of chicken breast crusted within a savory coating of flour, egg-wash, and breadcrumbs, but a boneless/skinless chicken thigh offers far more flavor at generally half the cost.
Breaded Chicken Cutlet
- 4 boneless chicken thighs (1 lb.), trimmed of fat and sinew
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted and seasoned with two tablespoons of fresh ground black pepper
- 2 eggs, whipped
- 1-1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (fine or Panko)
- 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- one lemon, quartered
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Gently tenderize the trimmed thighs under plastic with a mallet — spread evenly on a platter, season both sides with Kosher salt.
- Blend the bread crumbs and Parmesan evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Arrange a work station, from left to right, of the seasoned cutlets, the flour in a shallow bowl, the egg-wash in a shallow bowl, the bread crumb/Parmesan mixture, and a clean plate.
- Dredge a cutlet in the flour, patting off the excess.
- Dip in the egg wash, allowing excess to drip off.
- Place in the baking sheet of bread crumbs/Parmesan, shaking pan. Flip the cutlet and press down into the mixture.
- Place on the clean plate.
- Repeat with the remaining three thighs.
- Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the oil begins to shiver, and before it begins to smoke, place two cutlets in the pan. Do not move them. Allow the cutlets to cook for 90 seconds to two minutes (until a dark brown crusts forms and the cutlet separates from the pan with nary a shake). Flip the cutlets and allow to cook 60–75 seconds without moving. Remove to a plate lined with the paper towels, squeeze a lemon wedge on each cutlet, sprinkle with salt.
- Wipe out the pan, reheat and repeat the process.
- Serve immediately with a zesty arugula and tomato salad.
- Pair with any Italian medium-bodies red, preferably from Piedmont or Tuscany.
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