This post is for my good blogging friend Damyanti.. If you haven’t already met her, take a hop over to her blog or check out her Facebook Page. She is so creative and has many engaging projects for writers that you might want to get on board with! Meanwhile, if you love fried chicken but have given up the greasy, ‘not good for your heart’ variety. (God, how I still love my Raising Cane’s now and then), I have great news for you. The following recipe is the best thing I have found in its place and actually stands alone in its flavor, simplicity and versatility. Many of you may be familiar with other forms of German Schnitzel such as veal; but until I found this recipe I had no idea it would work with chicken. The following recipe was derived from a wonderful little cookbook I found some years back at one of my favorite book stores, either Books a Million or Barnes and Noble. This is the book where the original recipe can be found on page 91.
This little book is not really thick but has some of the tastiest recipes I have ever tried. I normally don’t use recipes any longer. I have grown to understand food and combinations so much that I pretty much “wing it”. But these recipes are gathered from around the globe and afforded me an opportunity to create and enjoy tastes from different countries. While my family liked anything I made from the this book, the number one hit of all has been the Chicken Schnitzels, by far the favorite of each and every member. My youngest gets the “warm fuzzies” just thinking about it. So, in that respect we can safely call it one of our family “comfort foods”. The photo that follows the recipe is the most recent meal which does NOT include one of the “key” ingredients which make it ultimate comfort-the homemade garlic creamed potatoes. We are all trying to eat lighter and healthier these days and only indulge in that delight occasionally. But the green beans were grown in my garden and steamed with fresh sweet pepper and we enjoyed a Romaine and fresh tomato salad on the side. One tip. DO NOT have your heat too high as the crust will become browned too quickly, leaving the chicken undercooked. Your cutlets should be as thin as called for so that you can get this perfect balance of crispy crust and delicately cooked meat. Okay, on to the recipe!
Four servings (this is so easily modified and leftovers are great)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Seasoning to taste (recipe calls for salt and pepper but being Southern we also love a nice pinch of cayenne pepper)
I also will add Italian seasoning, either fresh or dried if we are in the mood
3 Tbsp flour (you can add more if you feel the chicken is too wet after coating. I have substituted soy flour at times as well)
1 egg, beaten (I use 2 to be certain I have enough)
1/2 cup (or more if needed) fine, dry breadcrumbs (I add my additional seasonings to these)
About 6 Tbsp canola oil (I have used Olive or vegetable oil also)
Using sheets of parchment paper (recipe originally called for waxed paper, but after a bit of pounding they go to shreds), flatten chicken breasts to about 1/8 in thickness. I find the flat end of a meat mallet works best.
Next, coat the breasts in flour. (I like to use a large ziptop bag and shake them for complete covering.)
Dip each breast in beaten egg, making sure all is coated. Then coat in seasoned bread crumbs, making sure all surfaces are covered. This works best for me on a large plate, pressing down each side into the crumbs.
Put on a large plate or small baking sheet and refrigerate-uncovered-for at least 30 minutes.
(leaving the coated chicken uncovered in the fridge is the key to your crispy crust)
Heat oil in nonstick skillet and brown chicken breasts on both sides, about 3-5 min on each side. The recipe says to use high heat, but unless you get them uber thin I find the crust browns too quickly. I use med-high heat and adjust as needed. You may add additional oil as needed but remember you are not “frying” these, so less is more, using just enough to moisten and brown the breasts to a crispy crust outside and moist, cooked inside.
I always make a homemade honey-mustard sauce for dipping which I derived from the recipe of a “famous” little Icehouse in San Antonio called Willie’s. My quickie version calls for my favorite mayo (Blue Plate) blended with mustard, a bit of creole mustard if I have it on hand, regular French’s mustard, honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper. I wish I could give you exact measurements but I am such a ‘taste as you go’ cook, I would be lying if I said I made it to recipe each time. I can tell you I am heavier on the mayo than the mustard and not too much honey. I like to get the tang of the mustard, an aftertaste of “hot” in my throat without a real burn with an underlying hint of sweet honey. Feel free to experiment. The best cooks do!!
Ahhhh……I feel comforted already. I hope you try this out; and if you do, I hope you will let me know how it goes! When I make it these days I send my son photos so he can remember home-and be a bit green with envy. ;))