So we are 5-ish weeks into the school year, and all our organization and zest for new beginnings is starting to wane already. Both kids are starting to drag and because I have this impulse to feed people I love, I was trying to think of a dish I could make to perk them up a bit. Enter our favorite chicken dish.
“Cotoletta alla Milanese”, is a classic staple of Milanese cuisine you must try when you visit. You will find it on nearly every menu in Milan. It is traditionally made with a bone in piece of veal or pork, and occasionally chicken. I always make it with chicken when I cook it at home. Some variations are pounded thin, (look on the menu for l’orecchia di elefante- it’s as large as an elephant’s ear!) but it’s always dipped in egg + breadrumbs, then fried in butter until golden brown and crispy.
Sometimes it is served with patate fritte (french fries) and sometimes served with a salad made of arugula and tomatoes (my favorite). Often it is the size of a grown man’s head, hanging off the edges of the plate. At bars and Auto Grills throughout northern Italy, you can find even find thicker cut cotoletta chicken sandwiches in the glass case with the other varieties of panini. Those always look a little scary to me, but I’m pretty picky.
My kids say the best cotoletta they ever had was at the international school they attended in Milan- where their cafeteria served some of the best food ever! They are really missing that cafeteria, and my made-with-love turkey and cheese sandwiches just aren’t cutting it in comparison. I tried to make up for it by making them Chicken alla Milanese this week.
This meal is easy and delicious, but takes a few steps- so prepare accordingly. I love to make mine with chicken cutlets and top it with an herby tomato and arugula salad drizzled with a mustard vinaigrette. Not traditional, but I love it this way!
- For the Chicken:
- 4 Chicken Breasts (thinly sliced into cutlets)
- 1/2 c. Flour
- 3 Egg Whites
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 c. Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 t. Dried Oregano
- Clarified butter or oil
- Salt + Pepper, to taste
- For the Salad:
- Baby arugula
- Cherry tomatoes
- Assorted Fresh Herbs, snipped (I used Basil and oregano)
- Lemon wedges
- For the Dressing:
- 1 Large Lemon, juiced
- 2 T. Coarse Dijon Mustard
- 2 T. Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 1-2 t. Maple Syrup
- 1/2 c. Olive Oil
- Get 3 pie pans and line them up on the counter. Put the flour in the first one, egg whites + lemon zest in the next one, and Panko + oregano into the third.
- Place each piece of chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or meat pounder until thin.
- Dip the chicken in the flour, then the egg white, then the breadcrumbs. Place all of the coated chicken pieces on a large plate or baking sheet- place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30-60 minutes to help ensure a crisp crust.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl combine the arugula, tomatoes and fresh herbs- set aside.
- In a mason jar combine dressing ingredients and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust as needed with more mustard, salt or maple syrup.
- Place butter or oil into a large frying pan and heat to medium high. Fry chicken in batches, until golden brown and cooked through. (this will not take very long if your chicken is thin) Place cooked chicken on a clean baking sheet lined with a wire rack or paper towels and keep warm in oven.
- Toss half of the dressing with the salad.
- Place chicken on a plate, top with arugula salad and eat! (you can serve lemon wedges on the side if someone wants an extra squeeze on their chicken or salad)