Thursday, March 25, 2010

Panko-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Arugula Salad

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Prep 25 min | cook time 10 min | serves 4

Panko, sold in Asian groceries and in many supermarkets, develops a golden, crunchy crust when fried that stays crisp. Here, the panko are tossed with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to give them an Italian profile and extra flavor.

Implements
Paring or Utility Knife, Meat Pounder, Spiral or Small Whisk, Medium Shallow Bowl, Shallow Baking Dish, Large Rectangular Wire Rack, Rimmed Sheet Pan, 10- to 12-inch Skillet, Tongs, Medium Bowl

Ingredients
4 (4- to 5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1 large egg
¼ cup milk
1 ¼ cups panko
¹⁄3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Canola or other flavorless vegetable oil, for frying

Arugula Salad
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ clove garlic, grated or minced
½ teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
2 cups packed arugula or baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried

1. Trim any bits of tendon or fat from the chicken. Make sure the fillet, or tenderloin, attached to the underside of each breast has been removed. If it hasn’t, gently pull it away from the breast and reserve for another recipe.
2. Cut 2 sheets of plastic wrap each about 10 inches long. Place a chicken breast on 1 sheet and cover with the second sheet. Gently pound the chicken until evenly flattened to between ¼ and ¹⁄3 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining breasts. When all of the breasts have been pounded into cutlets, sprinkle them lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Pat a slice of prosciutto on top of each cutlet and trim any excess.
3. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl and then whisk in the milk. Combine the panko and grated cheese in a shallow baking dish and stir to mix. Dip the chicken in the egg and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Lay the chicken on the panko mixture, turn to coat, and press the crumbs into the chicken with your fingertips.
4. Place a rectangular wire rack on a rimmed sheet pan. Heat a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in vegetable oil to a depth of about ½ inch and heat until hot. To test the heat of the oil, add a pinch of panko. It should sizzle and turn golden brown on contact. When the oil is ready, add the chicken 1 or 2 pieces at a time, depending on the size of the skillet. Cook, turning once, for 2 minutes per side, or until the panko turns a deep gold. Use tongs to lift the chicken from the oil and place on the wire rack.
5. meanwhile, make the salad: In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add the tomatoes and arugula and toss to coat evenly.
6. Place a chicken cutlet in the center of each dinner plate. Distribute the salad evenly on top of the cutlets. Serve at once.

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