Saturday, October 24, 2015

Breaded Chicken Cutlets

I recently took the time to read through Jenny Rosenstrach’s book Dinner: A Love Story. I do say “read through”, because it’s much more than a collection of recipes; it’s about the importance of eating dinner with those we love, especially once we have children (and it was written by a woman who had kept a food diary for over 10 years; you can hear her on a podcast here). The ritual of shared mealtime helps us connect. Of course, it can be intimidating to cook for young children because they can be picky, and it’s especially hard for working parents to make the time for cooking every day. This book is about how Jenny and her husband Andy make it work, and how their strategy has evolved over time. Each recipe is presented with a slice-of-life story. I very much enjoyed it and bookmarked a half-dozen recipes from it. This recipe is also on their blog – it’s a classic, and for good reason! Everyone here loved it. Using the Corn Flake crumbs definitely gives it a little extra je-ne-sais-quoi compared to other chicken breasts prepared with the same method.

You’ll need a meat mallet for this recipe, to pound the chicken breasts to roughly 1/3 inch. (If you don’t own one, you could try improvising by using a large can, for example.) Thin chicken breasts will cook more quickly and evenly. If they get too big as you’re pounding, you can always cut them in half to make them easier to handle. Note that my friend Jen has reported success using aquafaba instead of eggs in similar recipes. Also, even though Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are technically wheat-free, they contain malt flavoring, which is often made with barley and therefore not gluten-free. You could use gluten-free breadcrumbs instead if that’s a concern, along with gluten-free flour of course. Personally, I found it very satisfying to use Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs instead of having to grind my own cereal because it felt less wasteful, but obviously it’s cheaper to make crumbs yourself (and in that case, based on another recipe I saw recently, you would need about 5 cups of cereal flakes to make the crumbs). Feel free to season the crumbs – I used salt and pepper, but Jenny Rosenstrach also recommends dry mustard, cayenne pepper, sesame seeds, fresh or dried herbs and/or grated parmesan.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded like crazy
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs (or bread crumbs, see note above), seasoned with salt and pepper

Pour some vegetable oil in a large skillet (I used safflower oil; be generous with the oil here, because you do need to fry that chicken properly – aim for about 4 tablespoons).

Set up your dredging stations: a plate with the flour, one with the eggs, another with the crumbs. Dredge your chicken pieces first in the flour, then in the eggs, and finally in the crumbs.

Fry each breast in the oil for 3-4 minutes on each side, proceeding in two batches if necessary (it’s better than trying to cram everything in one skillet, trust me; to save time, you can also use two skillets at once). The cooked chicken can be set on a plate lined with a paper towel and tented with foil until your second batch is ready – don’t forget to add more oil to the pan if necessary.

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