Crisp, golden brown crusted chicken cutlets are like a blank canvas that you can dress up in so many different ways. I had a bag of red peppers in my refrigerator last week that I decided to use up to make a simple peperonata, and as I was preparing the peppers I couldn’t help but think how delicious they would taste on chicken cutlets cooked tender and crisp, just how I love them. I did indeed combine the two for dinner that night and they turned out to be a wonderful combination. We like our food a bit spicy, so I added a hot pepper to my peperonata as well as in my breadcrumbs for the chicken, but if you aren’t a fan of a little heat in your food this dish would be equally good without the hot peppers. This chicken is best made with chicken breasts that are about 1/2 inch thick. If you buy breasts that are quite thick, you can partially freeze the breasts and then use a sharp knife to cut the breasts in half creating two thinner breasts. Once cut, lightly pound with a meat mallet until the breasts are of equal thickness throughout. The peppers are also great served on pork chops, either breaded, or simply fried.
Deborah Mele 2011
For The Cutlets:
- 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Cutlets Pounded To Equal Thickness Of About 1/2 Inch Thick
- 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour Seasoned With Salt & Pepper
- 3 Cups Stale Bread Cubes
- 1 Teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
- 1 Teaspoon Chopped Red Chile Pepper (Optional)
- 3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
- Sea Salt
- Cracked Black Pepper
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
For The Peperonata:
- 2 to 3 Sweet Red Peppers
- 1 Hot Banana Peppers (Optional)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Small Onion, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
- 1 Cup Chopped Tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
- 2 Teaspoons Capers
- Wash and dry all of the peppers.
- Cut off the tops, and cut in half, removing seeds and membranes and slice into 1/2 inch strips.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan, and add the onions, garlic and peppers, and cook for about 10 minutes on medium low heat, stirring frequently, until both the onions and peppers have softened and taken on some color.
- Add the tomatoes, and reduce heat to a simmer, then season with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 20 minutes or so until tender crisp, adding a little water if the mixture seems to be drying out too much.
- Add the parsley and capers, and cook an additional minute or two.
- Taste once more, and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature.
- Place the bread cubes, lemon zest, chile pepper, parsley, grated cheese, sea salt and pepper in the food processor.
- Pulse until finely blended. Add the pine nuts and pulse just until the nuts are coarsely chopped.
- Place the seasoned flour in a plastic bag, and add one chicken cutlet at a time, tossing to lightly coat in flour.
- Continue with the remaining cutlets.
- Beat the eggs and dip each of the cutlets first into the eggs, then the breadcrumbs and then lightly press with your fingertips to help the crumbs adhere.
- Refrigerate the chicken for one hour to allow the crumb coating to set.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the butter and olive oil in a flat casserole dish or pan large enough to hold all of the cutlets and place the cutlets on top.
- Cook for 10 minutes until the cutlets are browned on one side and turn.
- Cook an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the cutlets are cooked through.
- Serve a cutlet on each plate topped with a scoop of the peperonata on top.