Fried chicken cutlets is a dish that I grew up eating. With pasta, lots and lots of pasta. What do you expect, my mom is Italian. It's actually pretty easy to make, and if you are not so hot on frying foods, you could always bake it. And if you want to up the tasty quotient you could turn it into Chicken Parmigiana.
Here is our cast of characters for just the Chicken Cutlets:
~ Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
~ Italian Breadcrumbs (love these because I don't have to season them)
~ Parmesan Cheese
~ Vegetable Oil
If you want to up the tasty quotient you could turn it into Chicken Parmigiana by adding these ingredients:
~ Tomato Sauce (I like the pre-seasoned ones, but don't tell)
~ Shredded Mozzarella Cheese or an Italian blend
Start out by getting your chicken ready.
You'll notice that I placed the chicken on some saran wrap on my cutting board. This is to keep the bits of chicken from flying all over the place when you do this:
Doesn't that just make you smile :)? OK so maybe I have some pent up emotions that get taken out on the chicken at this point, but if I didn't take it out on the chicken it might all come pouring out on to some innocent bystander like my sister in law. I like my sister in law too much to hit her with a rolling pin.
So anyway, the point of hitting it with the rolling pin (or a mallet or hammer wrapped really well with saran wrap) is to tenderize the chicken and get it to a nice even thickness. This makes it tender when its cooked and helps it to cook faster and more evenly.
Once you get your chicken beaten into submission, it's time to do the same with some eggs and milk.
Only I used a whisk. No need to bust out the heavy machinery on some eggs. They'll submit much easier then the chicken. If you don't have a whisk, a fork works just fine. This is about a quarter cup of milk to two eggs. I don't ever measure this, I just pour in some milk.
I usually make a little tray our of tinfoil for the bread crumbs, but you could just as easily use a shallow baking dish. You can add some Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs if you want. About a tablespoon of cheese to a half cup of bread crumbs. Not that I measured any of this.
Also, at this point I am heating up the oil in a large frying pan of between med and med low heat. Just put enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan with about 1/8 of an inch of oil.
If 5 is medium then set it to about a 4. Every stove and pan combo is different, and you will want to find a temperature that works for you. You can check if your oil is hot by swishing it around in the pan, hot oil has a lower viscosity. That means it slides around the pan more like water then like how it poured into the pan. And there is your engineering term for the day, viscosity.
Now that you have the oil warming up, it is time to bread the chicken. Dip the chicken in the egg wash, and flip it over so both sides get coated with egg, then transfer it to the bread crumbs.
Flip it over on both sides in the breadcrumbs, kind of shaking the pan and using your fingers to pat it down to ensure the crumbs get on their real nice.
Next transfer it to the hot oil with a fork. Gently lower it into the oil. The oil should start to bubble up around the chicken.
See the little bubbles around the chicken and how the breadcrumbs that fell off are already starting to brown?
You can see in this next picture that the chicken is starting to cook around the edges. Oh and at this point your kitchen is starting to smell yummy and your roommates are starting to hover. (At least mine were until I chased them away with my rolling pin...*sigh* I guess I have some more issues to work out.)
Now is a good time to flip your chicken. And here is a time saving tip, while your cooking this chicken, you can bread the next few pieces.
Look at that lovely golden brown color. If your oil temperature is too high, the chicken will brown really fast, but the inside of your chicken will still be raw. If your temperature is too low, the breading will soak up more oil and you will end up with soggy breading.
On chicken you are looking for an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. While you are cooking it you can check the chicken by pressing on it with a fork. If it is still raw in the center it'll be squishy. Chicken that is done will feel more firm. To get an idea of what I mean, press the raw chicken with a fork and feel how soft it is. If the chicken in your pan feels like the raw chicken it is definitely not done. If you are still not sure you could always cut open a piece and check that the middle is not pink.
At this point you could serve the chicken with some pasta and a green veggie to balance it all out, or you could go a little further and make Chicken Parmigiana.
Yeah I want Chicken Parm too! (Yummy) So while I was cooking the chicken I was also warming up a can of spaghetti sauce. I like to mix the different flavors. I think for this dish I mixed the four cheese with the garlic herb.
I guess I should mention that I was also heating up a stock pot of water for some pasta. You can see all three of my pots in this picture. To the left is the chicken and above is the stock pot.
So first lay out your cooked chicken in a baking dish. I like to spray the dish with some spray release like PAM before hand because it makes clean up easier later. Then cover your chicken with sauce.
I had more pictures of this process, but my camera's software randomly deleted some of the pictures I took for this post when I was uploading them...I'm still not sure why.
Any way, once you get it nice and covered with sauce, then smother it with shredded cheese.
That shadow is my hand sprinkling on some more Parmesan cheese.
Bake it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese is nice and melted like so.
I made some garlic bread too, but I'll save that for another post.
Once it is melted it is ready to serve.
Mmm, if only you could smell it. I let my roommates back into the kitchen so they could eat, now that I was done cooking. They weren't mad at me anymore for chasing them with a rolling pin.
My brother just commented that the chicken parmigiana should have a slightly more crispy cheese coating. He suggested turning on the broiler for a few minutes to get the right texture.
It was so yummy, and I was so full I couldn't even finish it. But it was well worth it.
Oh, I also have a recipe for the left over eggs and breadcrumbs coming soon!
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