Panko Crusted Chicken Cutlets

Although this recipe is already contained in a number of other recipe posts on this blog, I thought it was worth sharing by itself because making these crispy, golden cutlets opens up a world of creativity in terms of what you do with your pan sauce.  Once fried golden brown, you pop them in the oven to cook them through, and while they are finishing you can use the fond in the pan as a base to create any number of sauces.  The chicken itself can then be served over rice, pasta, potatoes, bread – whatever you fancy – with your sauce drizzled on top.

Active Time:  15-20 minutes
Inactive Time:  15-2o minutes
Level: Easy
Cost: Varies depending on what sauce you make
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  1.   2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied, sliced through and pounded into cutlets about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. 1/4 cup flour
  3. 1 TBSP Paprika
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1 TBSP vodka (optional, adds crunch!)
  7. 2 TBSP cream or milk
  8. 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  9. 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  10. 1 TBSP butter (or clarified butter, which you can buy at Trader Joe’s, also called ‘ghee’)
  11. 2 TBSP regular butter
  12. 1-2 TBSP olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325°F

Set up your chicken dredging station.  You’ll need two, wide shallow dishes and one medium sized bowl.

  • Put the flour in one of the wide, shallow dishes.  Season aggressively with salt and pepper; add paprika and whisk together.
  • In the second wide, shallow dish add Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Whisk together until well mixed.
  • Crack two eggs into the medium sized bowl; add vodka (if using) and cream/milk.  Whisk together until slightly foamy.
  • Set them up in this order:  Flour mixture, egg wash, bread crumb mixture

Heat olive oil and 1 TBSP butter in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat and gently stir to coat the bottom of the pan.  Dredge a chicken cutlet first in the flour mixture (shaking of excess), then dip into the egg wash, and then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing firmly to adhere to each side.

Note:  If you want exceptionally crispy breading that is almost guaranteed not to fall off your chicken cutlets, do this:  Dredge your cutlets in this order – Egg Wash, Flour, Egg wash, Panko Mixture.  Once breaded, place them on a baking sheet and refrigerate them for 30 minutes before continuing to the next step.

Add cutlet to skillet and fry 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining cutlets.

Note:  You  can fry more than one at a time, but you’ll probably need to work in batches – every time a cutlet is added to the skillet, it will reduce the over-all temperature, which will hinder browning and increase the possibility of soaking the breading in oil rather than frying it.  I’ve found that 3-4 cutlets at a time is a good number, depending on their size.  You may also need to add more fat to the pan between batches; this is also okay.  If you do, try to keep the olive oil-to-butter ratio at roughly 1:1.

When all the cutlets are browned, place them on a wire rack set on a baking sheet, (or alternatively place them directly on a lightly greased baking sheet, although be warned: skipping the wire rack will make them mushy on the bottom, so seriously, use the wire rack!) and bake them in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked through, with an internal temperature of at least 160F.

Not sure what sauce to make?  Try one of these!

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken with Italian Red Sauce; i.e., Marinara Sauce

Chicken Marsala

Chicken in a mushroom Marsala reduction sauce

Chicken Piccata

Chicken in a lemon butter pan sauce with capers and white wine

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