Supreme Cutlets (do you get it?)
Home Movies Tuesday!
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Is this the third email you’ve gotten about cutlets in less than a week? If you’re lucky! But seriously, make these crispy cutlets and eat them sitting in front of the A/C today, you’ll be so glad that you did.
This edition of Home Movies is sponsored by All-Clad, and to celebrate, they’ve let me pick some of my tried and true All-Clad products to give away to our Home Movies viewers. This week, we're giving away a D3 Stainless 10” skillet, my go-to for searing chicken thighs, toasting nuts, making personal pastas, and frying these very crispy cutlets one at a time. For a chance to win one of your own, click here and enter your email. Also, you can use the code ALISON10 for 10% off any All-Clad purchase.
There are few meals more satisfying and comforting than a perfectly crispy, juicy cutlet. Whether it’s pork or chicken (this recipe works for either), schnitzel or milanese, it’s a truly elegant dish that I’m always delighted to order at a restaurant or make for a few friends— anytime I can be almost eating chicken fingers and feel very glamorous while doing so is a major win.
If you need a little push to help you out of your cooking fatigue or sheet pan dinner routine, this is an excellent place to start. It takes the guesswork out of what to serve on the side (very dirty martinis with olives and a twist, a crispy, lemony fennel salad, dijon for dipping, little cornichons because we have fun), and comes together quicker than you think it might. While I DO love cooking, my favorite thing about this recipe is eating it: Delicately cutting off one piece at a time, squeezing lemon on each as I go, dipping them in dijon, and snacking on cornichons and fennel salad in between each bite. It’s approximately a thousand times more fun and exciting to eat than your average dinner, and will make anyone you’re cooking it for feel very loved (I’m a cancer, this is my main goal in life).
If crispy, juicy cutlets aren’t enough for you, we are not the same, but this episode of Home Movies is also here to give us: tricks for extra crispy vegetables, frying ASMR, pork and chicken cutlet demonstrations (we really can have it all), a soothing plating montage, drink pairing recommendations, and the sweet, earnest truth that this is a very special recipe to make for someone you love. Oh! And a long-awaited David/Dan reveal (!!).
Breading and frying anything can be a little cumbersome, but this recipe makes it as simple as possible (no flouring!), and the extra effort is very worth it for these crispy babies. The pounding of the cutlets is the most labor-intensive part, but I find it extremely therapeutic (less in the meditative way than, say, making shortcakes, more in the tension-releasing way). Once you have your dredging station set up, everything goes quickly and easily, so make sure your salad (and non-negotiable) martini is ready to go. This is precisely what I want to eat (and drink) at, say, 5:30 PM on a Saturday night, outside on a deck with my favorite people, while finishing the jar of cornichons and batch of martinis by the end of the night. A dinner that comes with the vibe? What more could you ask for!
Without further ado, please give a warm welcome to all these modifications:
Don’t want to use chicken? Use pork. Don’t want to use pork? Use chicken. Both cuts should be boneless.
For the pounding (a very important step), if you don’t have a mallet (I sure don’t), use a small, heavy-bottomed skillet. If you don’t have parchment paper, pound out the cutlets between two layers of plastic wrap or in a large ziploc bag.
For more a slightly different texture with a more fine, even coating, follow the Hart’s secret and blitz the panko in a food processor (it really did make a difference in achieving a more evenly coated and crispy cutlet and I highly recommend if you have an extra minute to spare, but don’t sweat it if you don’t— they are truly great either way).
You can absolutely season the breadcrumbs with parmesan, chili flakes, or crushed fennel seeds and it would be lovely.
Don’t like fennel? Use thinly sliced radishes or celery (or any other crunchy vegetable).
Want to make it gluten-free? Gluten-free panko will work just fine.
Click HERE for a printable PDF.
CRISPY CHICKEN CUTLETS WITH FENNEL SALAD
This crispy cutlet, inspired by the New York City restaurants I love so much goes by many names, but all you need to know is that it’s chicken (or pork) and it’s crispy. The pounding of the chicken is what really makes it, but yes, you can simply bread a thinly sliced cutlet for a different (perhaps juicer, less crispy) effect. The salad here is made with fennel, but you can use any crunchy vegetable, dressed with lemon and herbs to eat alongside. This recipe serves two, but you can easily double it for more cutlets; just be sure to wipe the skillet free from any burned crumbs between rounds.
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 8–10 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast or pork chop
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1 quartered lemon for serving
1 fennel bulb or 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 cup mixed herbs, such as parsley, chives and dill, coarsely chopped (or just use fennel fronds)
¼ cup canola oil, plus more as needed
Dijon mustard and cornichon pickles, for serving (optional)
Dirty martini with olives and a twist (optional)
1. Place panko in a shallow baking dish or wide, shallow bowl and season with salt; set aside.
2. Whisk egg with a teaspoon or of water until well blended, season with salt, and place in another shallow baking dish or wide, shallow bowl; set aside.
3. Slice chicken breast (or pork chop) in half horizontally, so you have two thin cutlets. Working with one piece at a time, place one cutlet between two sheets of parchment paper (alternatively, use a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap).
4. Using a small, heavy-bottomed skillet, gently but firmly pound the chicken or pork until it’s as thin as can be, about ⅛” thick (don’t go too thin, though, or it’ll be hard to bread and not that fun to eat).
5. Season chicken or pork with salt on both sides then dip into the egg mixture. Using your hands (or tongs, but I prefer hands), pick up the cutlet, letting any excess egg wash run off. Place it directly into the bread crumbs and, like you’re burying something in the sand, cover it with bread crumbs. Firmly press the crumbs into the cutlet so that the entire surface of both sides is covered with a tight layer of crumbs. Shake off any excess crumbs, and set cutlet aside, either on a plate or baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cutlets (you can refrigerate at this stage up to two days, or freeze up to 2 weeks).
6. Combine shallot and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a medium bowl and season with salt; set aside.
7. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add cutlets, and using tongs, press slightly so that it makes contact with the skillet and the oil. (This will help an even browning as the chicken contracts and buckles.) Cook until golden brown and crispy on one side, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the cutlets and cook until the other side is just as golden brown, another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; season with salt. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
8. To serve, add fennel and any fronds or herbs to the shallot, toss, and season with salt and pepper. Place a crispy cutlet on each plate and nestle the fennel salad alongside (not on, lest you disturb the crunchy exterior). Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over as you cut off each bite, mustard for dipping, cornichons for snacking, and the martini for drinking.