The other day we ran out of ideas for dinner and decided to do what we’ve made dinner at least eight thousand times in our lives …
We set up a digging station (one shallow bowl of flour, one with egg, one with breadcrumbs), digged out four chicken breast fillets, and pan-fried them until they were just right – crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Breaded chicken schnitzel was the first thing my mom taught my dad how to do when she decided to go to law school (and give him three mouths to cook three nights a week). First thing I learned how to do when I was alone, and as one of the first real meals I got, I convinced my once-chicken nugget-obsessed toddlers to love them. You would think we would have outgrown them by now, but it’s almost the opposite. They keep getting better and better and over the years I’ve built more meals around them than I can count. (My husband: “Why don’t we do these more often?”) Here are some of my favorites, and I hope you will share some ideas too.
The five most important things we do with breaded chicken schnitzel
- Serve them on a large platter topped with our current salad. (Shown: pea sprouts, tomatoes, chopped red onions from a few summers ago.) Or just toss straight into a cobb or caesar or kale or rocket salad.
- Stuff them between potato buns and give them the crispy fish sandwich treat with coleslaw.
- Serve them with a no cook dipping sauce (for a long time this was known in our house as “ketchup”).
- Cut into slices and place in a rice bowl along with fried vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli) and drizzle with a soy and ginger vinaigrette (or your favorite vinaigrette).
- Top with tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan; bake for 20 minutes at 350 ° F for chicken parm.
The instructions: Breaded chicken schnitzel
5 to 6 tablespoons of olive oil and more if necessary
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups plain or panko breadcrumbs *
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large boneless chicken breast fillets (about 1 1/2 pounds), rinsed, patted dry, and whipped for even thickness (use a rolling pin or meat masher to place chicken between plastic wrap and bang)
Put the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Set up your digging stations: a plate with a rim for the eggs, a plate for the flour and a plate for the breadcrumbs seasoned with salt and pepper. Using a fork, coat your chicken pieces first with the flour (shaking off the excess), then with the egg, then with the crumbs and press the chicken into the crumbs to coat it thoroughly.
Fry each breast in the oil for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Try not to overfill the pan. The schnitzels are cooked when the chicken is firm to the touch, but not rock hard.
Take the chicken out and drain it on a foil-lined plate lined with paper towels when you have more pieces to roast. Add more oil to the pan and fry the remaining breasts.
Note: You can add the following to the breadcrumbs: 2 teaspoons of mustard powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, fresh thyme leaves, sesame seeds or freshly grated Parmesan.
PS Another chicken brick and a cozy white bean soup.