Friday, February 20, 2009

67. Parmesan Breaded Chicken Cutlets

Date Cooked: February 6, 2009
Page: 337
Rating: A

Considering my newfound comfort with cooking in oil, several recipes are beginning to look less intimidating. The breaded chicken cutlets was one of them. This recipe is actually a component of the Chicken Parmesan recipe in the book which I will blog about separately later.

I started out with probably the best part of the recipe, pounding chicken breasts flat. I started gently at first but eventually I was wailing away on these things until they threatened to stretch and break apart into several pieces. Once sufficiently beaten the cutlets were brined in some salted water for an hour. I highly recommend brining chicken, it makes a noticeable difference to the juiciness of the final product.

While the chicken was brining I prepared my flour, egg wash and bread crumb stations. I used panko bread crumbs for this because I had them and had recently watched a cooking show where they were used for breading chicken cutlets. I also decided to use the parmesan variation for them since it was just a simple addition of cheese to the bread crumbs.

When the chicken was done brining it was patted dry before being dusted in flour, dunked in the egg and then coated with bread crumbs. The book suggests using tongs but after the first cutlet I gave up on that and got my hands dirty. It was quicker and I got a better coating using my hands. The cutlets were placed on a rack to dry for a few minutes while I got the oil in the pan nice and hot.

The cutlets were fried in the oil two at a time for a few minutes on each side. I was concerned about undercooking the chicken because the bread coating would only allow for certain threshold of cooking before it began to burn. Once they were all done and draining on another rack I covered them with some grated cheese and placed them under the broiler until the cheese melted. I had a concern about putting the cheese on them at this time since they were going to be used in the Chicken Parmesan recipe. More on that in the next post though.

Rating: A. Once again I am surprised at my growing ability and the simple techniques I am learning. The chicken came out beautifully. It was properly cooked and still juicy which surprised me because of how thin the cutlets are. Obviously this can be attributed to the brining. I did learn one thing from this though is the importance of various oils and what they contribute to a dish. I used extra virgin olive oil for cooking these cutlets. In the book it says vegetable oil. I assumed incorrectly that it didn’t matter which was why they listed a basic oil. I was wrong and here is why. The vegetable oil would have been more neutral and not imparted a flavor to the cutlets unlike the EVOO. Did this detract from the cutlets? Not really, but I could notice the flavor and it could have been omitted and the cutlets would have been a bit better because of it.

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