I struggle to look back and find a week where chicken doesn’t appear on the menu once, twice, maybe even three times. It’s ubiquitous in most of our everyday lives, and while we love our chicken around here, sometimes it can get a little monotonous.
Monotony no more. I’m rebelling against invariable chicken meals. Actually I put my foot down a long time ago, only now thinking to post about it. So on to it. One of our favorite methods of preparing chicken is pounding the breasts to a 1/4″ thickness and shallow-frying them up with a breadcrumb and herb coating.
With this one preparation, the variations are endless: before dredging, dip the chicken in buttermilk or egg wash, or brush with honey or a combination of butter and mustard; homemade breadcrumbs for a rougher texture, Panko for a crispy crust or store-bought fine crumbs for a lighter coating; add a variety of fresh or dry herbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino (or Sarvecchio — see below) or dried red chilli flakes to the breadcrumbs.
Another option we really enjoyed in the past is rubbing some grated onion into both sides of the just-pounded meat, and then go about with the flour, egg wash and dredging.
And if those aren’t enough options, you can play around with a sauce as well. To go the easy — and ultra flavorful — route, remove the cooked chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Add a splash of wine or broth to the still hot pan and scrape the bits off the bottom. As the liquid reduces, you can toss in some fresh herbs or spices, fresh citrus juice, mustard, chopped nuts, capers, chopped shallots or garlic, and maybe a pat of butter or splash of heavy cream to create that silky gloss. When the consistency and flavor are where you want them to be, plate the chicken and pour the sauce over top.
Two recipes we love for in-the-pan sauces are: lemon butter [try adding a spoonful of capers] and mushroom Marsala If you’re feeling ambitious or don’t want to use the drippings from the chicken, here are two of our out-of-the-pan go-to recipes: salsa rosa and citrus salsa verde
Last night we pulled out another wonderful specimen of breaded, shallow-fried chicken. This time we went with an egg wash, dredging the cutlets in a mixture of fresh thyme, Panko, salt and pepper. I threw together a field green salad with dried cherries and herb buttermilk dressing and also sautéed some radishes in browned butter. I poured the leftover browned butter from the radishes into the chicken pan, scraped it around, and then poured it over the cutlets. Sauce laziness turned out to be something totally new and delicious. I should also note the chicken was fabulous dipped in the creamy, herby dressing — my play on buttermilk fried chicken.