This is a classic, somewhat easy and quick weeknight dinner that can also be dressed up for a dinner party. As forgiving and flavorful as chicken thighs are, this dish works well with breast, as well as pork loin chop or turkey breast, pounded out into a thin cutlet. In honor of spring, toss together thinly sliced radishes, snap peas, spring onion, with a subtle anchovy-pickle Dijon mash-up. These crispy cutlets also work well with your favorite pasta and marinara sauce; top a salad or sandwich with any cold leftovers.
Pan-fried chicken primavera
Makes 3 to 4 servings
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs — Italian, panko or homemade
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, for light dredging
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups vegetable oil, such as grapeseed or canola
For the radish-onion-pickle salad:
2 large radishes, thinly sliced
1 small spring onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 baby dill pickles, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Serve with: lemon wedges; sauerkraut; arugula or spinach; Dijon mustard
1. Prepare chicken: place breast flat-side down on a cutting board and press palm down on chicken and very carefully slice in half horizontally or butterfly. Place breasts in a large plastic resealable bag or between two large sheets of plastic wrap. Pound evenly, using a meat pounder or heavy skillet, into a thin cutlet, about 1/4-inch thick.
2. Place eggs and 2 teaspoon water or milk in a medium bowl and whisk. Combine bread crumbs together with Parmesan cheese in one wide dish, like a glass pie plate. Place flour in a separate wide dish. Divide the salt and pepper evenly to season eggs, flour and chicken.
3. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, coat both sides in flour, tapping off any excess, then dip in egg and lift out. Coat each side in breadcrumbs, pressing firmly to coat well.
4. Heat oil in a large (12-inch) heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Drop a breadcrumb or some flour into oil and it should sizzle instantly and float to the surface. If the oil is not hot enough, the cutlets will be soggy and soak up the oil; if it’s too hot (smoking), they will burn before cutlet cooks through. Gently slide 2 cutlets into the hot oil, making sure they aren’t touching, and let cook until undersides are golden, about 2 minutes. Then gently flip and fry until cooked through and golden on other side, about 2 to 3 minutes more. If the cutlets are thinner, cooking time will be reduced by a minute or so. Place on a cookie sheet or paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve warm.
5. For the salad: Prep vegetables and, if you want to keep them crisp, place in a bowl of ice water; drain and pat vegetables dry before serving. In a small saucepan, add olive oil, garlic and chopped anchovy fillets over medium heat, mashing together, until anchovy starts to melt. Add chopped pickles and lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before tossing with vegetables.