Who knew a breaded piece of chicken could cause a near riot in my house? I used 2 lbs of chicken for the recipe last week (there were 3 of us at home), naively thinking, oh, how great will this be tomorrow (and the next day) for lunch? We all made our plates and were sitting in another room (OK, in front of the TV watching the Anthony Bourdain's super weird holiday special) One son rose and, quite politely, asked if anyone like more chicken. The rest of us thinking that he was offering to get us some not do you mind if I finish the rest of it and leave you hanging...Next son rose to top off his plate to find the chicken GONE. And that, my friends, is when the crowd went wild. A word to the wise: make more than you think you need. Leftovers are great on a sandwich or even just cold in front of the fridge.
This may appear to be a super simple dish but it is the simplicity and the clean layers of flavor that make it slightly addictive. I've barely adapted a recipe from one of my favorite girl-crush chefs, Michelle Bernstein. This is a version of her Argentinian mother's preparation.
chicken milanesa with shaved manchego and peppadews
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2 lbs organic chicken cutlets (or make your own by pounding skinless, boneless breasts between some parchment paper until evenly thin)
2 large eggs
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T parsley, minced
2 cups panko
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz or more manchego cheese, shaved with a Y peeler
4-5 (pickled) peppadews*
olive or canola oil for frying
Pre-heat oven to 300°
Whisk together the eggs, garlic, parsley in one bowl, panko in another. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. With your left hand (I'm not kidding) dip one cutlet in the egg mixture and place it the breadcrumbs. With your right hand, coat the cutlet with the breadcrumbs. (I know this method seems a little fussy but it keeps both mixtures clean and the cutlets properly coated.)
When all of your cutlets are ready, heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat and cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Work in batches and it will be easier to control the browning.
If you need a little time to finish the rest of your prep, the cutlets will keep well in the low oven for about 5-7 minutes without over-cooking. When you are ready, slice each cutlet into 4-5 pieces and place a shaving of the cheese and spread a few peppers around the platter.
* You can find peppadews in the olive bar section of most good grocers. They are surprisingly nutritious, loaded with lycopene, and most certainly delicious.
I served the chicken with roasted cauliflower and a mixed green salad with diced apples and toasted pine nuts.