Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Parmesan Chicken Cutlets with Tomato Salad | February 8, 2010

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved chicken parmesan.  When I was a kid and my grandmother would come visit, we’d always go to the neighborhood “red-sauce Italian” restaurant (usually Olive Garden), and I would ALWAYS order the same thing.  When I grew up and learned how to cook, I experimented with various versions of the classic, trying to find the best replication of those fabulous childhood flavors.

Unfortunately, the biggest downside to traditional chicken parmesan is that it’s quite heavy.  I mean, cheese-covered fried meat is great and all, but sometimes it’s just a little too much for the tummy to handle.  Enter this dish, which manages to capture some of the familiarity of chicken parmesan in a much lighter, fresher-tasting incarnation.  The parmesan crust on the chicken provides cheesy goodness without loads of fat and calories, and the tomato salad brings to the table the acidity and brightness of a good marinara sauce.  A nice benefit of the lack of sauce was that the chicken’s crust stayed nice and crisp.  The dish wasn’t exactly what I remembered from my youth, but it still triggered some nice memories and didn’t require an extra trip to the gym.

  • ½ cup AP flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 ¼ cups shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 thin-cut chicken cutlets, 3 to 4 ounces each
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered, or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (my grocer was out, so I used about ½ tablespoon of dried)

Spread flour in shallow dish.  Beat eggs in second shallow dish.  Combine panko and cheese in third shallow dish.  Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  One at a time, dredge cutlets in flour, dip in eggs, and coat with panko/cheese mixture, pressing to adhere.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Cook two cutlets until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate lined with paper towels.  Repeat with 3 tablespoons more oil and remaining cutlets. 

Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, and remaining oil in a large bowl and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer cutlets to individual plates and top with tomato mixture.

 

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