Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cotoletta alla Milanese

Cotoletta, paillard, scallop, wienerschnitzel . . . whatever you call it these lightly breaded crispy slivers of meat (often veal but ours was chicken) are ready in a flash and just the thing for a light summer dinner.
I butterflied a chicken breast and pounded it to about 1/4 inch thickness. I briefly dipped the chicken in beaten egg (seasoned) and then in a combination of panko bread crumbs (for extra crunch) and grated parmesan cheese (S&P of course). The trick to the crispy exterior is all in the pan. Heat a good quantity of olive oil over medium heat until the surface just shimmers, then add a TB or so of butter. When the butter has melted and just starts to foam, lay in the breaded cutlet and let it cook over medium heat until nicely browned and crisp on one side (3 -4 minutes). Flip the meat, with a spatula or tongs, and cook the other side until golden brown -- about 3 minutes.
To finish and garnish our one dish dinner I mixed up an arugula and parsley salad with shaved parmesan cheese and "grilled" figs. Usually for this salad I would toss the halved figs on the grates of the grill but since I was only using one skillet I gave the figs a turn in a thin slick of olive oil (before I cooked the chicken, the figs don't need to be warm), over high heat until they just started to soften and crisp on the edges. I tossed the salad ingredients with a light rosemary vinaigrette (2 TB olive oil, 2 TB balsamic vinegar, 2 TB chopped rosemary, S&P), and topped the crisp cotoletta with thin slices of prosciutto and a tangle of the fresh bitter and sweet salad.
"If you save that last little piece for me, I'll eat it tomorrow," James said while clearing the plates. Success!

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