This is my attempt to guide you through the process of making the ever popular chicken cutlet. What I present to you is the basic method that I learned from my mom. The variations on this are endless …some folks like them super thin, others not so much. Place the breast on a cutting board and slice into cutlets by holding the knife parallel to the board. You decide how thick you would like them to be. They can be wide and very thin. Or perhaps a bit thicker, cut into strips to form chicken fingers. You know the ones …my grandchildren love them. Actually, I happen to know a few “big kids” who like them quite a bit, too.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating …I always use organic chicken breasts. Specifically …always Whole Foods organic chicken breasts. I will drive thirty miles to get my hands on them. They are that good …so superior in flavor and texture. Enough on that, back to the process…
Line up three dishes to form a “breading of the chicken” assembly line. In the first bowl, add the flour. The second bowl will hold the egg wash and the third will be for the bread crumb mixture. Here’s where you can customize. I use plain bread crumbs …the homemade type from Whole Foods. But, really, you can swap them out for the Italian seasoned type or you can add some grated parmesan. Or some lemon zest. You can use packaged breadcrumbs and/or panko. You can make your own homemade breadcrumbs …like here. I think I’ve made my point. The possibilities are endless. Make this recipe your own.
Be sure to coat all surfaces with the flour, the egg wash, and the bread crumb mixture. Once all of the chicken has been dipped in each dish, place the breaded chicken on a platter. At this point, you can cook them right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to fry.
I choose to fry my cutlets in refined organic coconut oil because of the reported health benefits. As long as you use the refined variety, the oil is completely neutral with no telltale taste of coconut. They are also delicious cooked up in olive oil.
Enjoy these guys straight from the pan …that’s when they are at their best. They can be used to make a tray of chicken parmesan …just top with some marinara and fresh mozzarella. Bake in the oven til heated through and the cheese is melted. Or build an epic sandwich with your favorite toppings.
your basic chicken cutlets
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup refined organic coconut oil or olive oil, plus more as needed
Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels and set aside.
Rinse chicken well under cold water. Blot dry between two layers of paper towels. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Place your non-dominant hand flat on top of one chicken breast. Hold a sharp knife with a smooth blade in your dominant hand, keeping the blade parallel to the cutting board. Make an even horizontal slice through the chicken, starting from the thick end and working your way toward the thin end. Repeat with each breast, cutting each cutlet to your preferred thickness. Use caution!
Set up the dredging station by lining up three shallow bowls (or pie plates) in a row. In the first, add the flour. In the second dish, add the eggs. With a fork or whisk, beat the eggs until smooth then add the water and beat again. In the third dish, add the breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork to combine ingredients.
Grasp a cutlet at one end with a fork. Dredge both sides of the cutlet in the flour, then shake gently over the dish to knock off any excess. Next, dunk the cutlet in the egg mixture, making sure that both sides are well coated. Hold the cutlet above the bowl so that excess egg can drip off. Finally, place the cutlet in the dish of breadcrumb mixture so that the bottom gets coated. Carefully flip the cutlet over to coat the other side. Press on the cutlet to help the bread crumbs adhere to the surface. You may need to repeat this step to ensure the entire cutlet is coated. Place breaded cutlet on a platter and repeat with remaining chicken. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. After two to three minutes, sprinkle a small bit of water over the oil from your fingertips. If the oil immediately sizzles, it is hot enough to add the chicken. Place cutlets in the skillet in a single layer with ample space between each. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Carefully flip over and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of cutlet. When done, transfer to prepared baking sheet in a single layer to absorb excess oil. Repeat in batches until all chicken is cooked. If desired, season with additional salt and pepper.
Serve immediately. Or wrap well and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If reheating is required, place on a tray in 325°F oven for about 10 minutes. Do not reheat in the microwave; it will change the texture of, as well as toughen the chicken.