All the crunchy, savory flavors of the traditional Italian dish, without the ~gluten~
Ever since I was told back in 2016 that I had to eat gluten free, the culinary element I miss the most is crunchy foods- brick oven pizza crust, french baguettes, and of course, chicken cutlets. WHY MUST PEOPLE WITHOUT GLUTEN BE DEPRIVED OF CRUNCHY, SAVORY GOODNESS?
Growing up with an Italian mother, I feel like I learned to make chicken cutlets in the womb and was birthed with a cutlet in hand (sadly this was not the case). I could make chicken cutlets in my sleeps - hot oil, egg bath, bread crumbs, fry. But of the times I've tried to make gluten free cutlets, they just didn't taste the same... until last night.
Maybe the cutlet gods were on my side. Maybe I just used the right pan. Either way, at the end I was joyfully weeping into a perfect golden brown cutlet. I had this craving after looking at Bon Appetit Mag for Chicken Milanese and no one was going to stop me. I've been on this weird kick of trying to make restaurant level dishes, and not to toot my own horn but TOOT TOOT THIS IS IT. There's something about the hot, crispy chicken with cold bruschetta and over a cold salad that is so pleasing to me texture wise. The contrast is beautifully paired with the tanginess and acid of the lemon and champagne vinegar and the subtle sweetness of the balsamic glaze.
If you're looking to make the best Chicken Milanese of your life, follow the recipe below. For my gluten-tolerating friends, just substitute in regular 4C bread crumbs (unseasoned) with a little panko and it will do the trick.
GLUTEN FREE CHICKEN MILANESE:
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 8 MINUTES
2 thinly sliced chicken cutlets
1 plum tomato
4 cloves of garlic
1 TBSP fresh parsley (packed)
1 large egg
1 cup (+ more if need be) 4C Gluten Free Plain Bread Crumbs
2 1/4 cups (approx) Vegetable Oil
1 TBSP Champagne Vinegar
1/2 Fresh Lemon (NOT Juice)
2 handfuls fresh arugula
Balsamic Glaze (to taste)
Fresh oregano (or dried) to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
FOR THE SALAD: This part is hard, brace yourselves. Take two generous handfuls of arugula from the bag you bought at the store. Rinse with cold water, place in salad spinner, spin away. Place in a container, add 1/2 shallot sliced paper thin. Cover tightly and place in the fridge. (Told you this part was ~hard~).
FOR THE BRUSCHETTA: I am a straight up STAN for even, uniformed and clean knife cuts. This bruschetta gives the opportunity to show off your meticulous cuts. (Messy knife cuts? No worries... now you have a ~rustic~ dish.) Personally, I prefer a fine micro-dice, so the bruschetta acts like a sauce. Feel free to make your cuts as big as you like. For this portion, I used half of a shallot, 4 cloves of garlic and one plum tomato (only the outside, no gooey seeds). Once cut, combine in a small glass bowl with approx 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 2-3 tablespoons of champagne vinegar. Add in fresh parsley, fresh oregano, salt and pepper as desired. Combine, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge (important). This will allow the bruschetta to get cold, and for the flavors to come together.
FOR THE CUTLET: Cooking the cutlet itself is an easy process. I buy the organic thin sliced chicken breasts from Stop & Shop and lightly pound them out under plastic wrap to make them a little thinner (I was never a thick cutlet girl). In one bowl I beat ONE egg until whites and yolk are combined and in another shallow bowl I put enough bread crumbs (I use the 4C Gluten Free Plain Bread Crumbs) to coat both pieces of chicken. Heat vegetable oil in a shallow pan (enough to almost submerge the chicken). Coat both sides of the chicken in egg, then the bread crumbs ** SUPER IMPORTANT: Make sure you "shovel" some extra bread crumbs on the chicken cutlet and pat them on, to ensure full coverage of the chicken. Gently place each cutlet into the oil, cooking on medium until golden brown on each side (about 3-4 min a side). Make sure to give the pan a little "swirl" to make sure the chicken is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. DO NOT COOK EACH SIDE MORE THAN ONCE. This can cause the breading to loosen from the cutlet, and saturate the cutlet with oil. Remove the cutlet from the pan with a CLEAN fork. Ain't nobody got time for salmonella. Place cutlets on a paper towel to "drain" and pat gently the expose side to get rid of access oil.
TO ASSEMBLE: Lay arugula and thinly sliced shallots down first, adding the cutlet(s) on top. Top the cutlets with desired amount of bruschetta and add a squeeze of lemon juice across the plate. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze (I use one from a company called Blaze that can be found at an Italian specialty store).
If you try this and you love it, let me know! I'd love to see your recreations.