Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chicken Milanese with Charred Tomatoes

Recipe updated February 2015

Milanese-style chicken is very similar to chicken scaloppini and chicken piccata—and some folks use the terms interchangeably. The similarity is in the preparation: small pieces of boneless chicken (usually breast) are pounded thin, breaded with a light coating of dry breadcrumbs, and fried in a little oil or butter, or both.

There’s often an accompanying sauce, and these vary widely, but light ones serve to complement the mild chicken without drowning it. For this recipe, the “sauce” isn’t very saucy. I simply blistered whole grape tomatoes in a hot skillet with a little white wine, then tossed them with olive oil and seasoning to top the chicken. The juices from the charred tomatoes, wine, and oil provide moisture, but they don’t overpower the flavor of the chicken itself.

Adding finely grated cheese to the breadcrumbs packs an extra layer of flavor into the otherwise mild chicken breast. Here, I used Romano, but Parmesan or other hard Italian cheeses will work well too.

Note: I started with very small chicken tenders, two to three ounces each, and pounded them out to wider, very thin pieces. You can also use small boneless breast halves (about 5 oz each) and butterfly them before pounding. Butterflying helps in pounding the chicken very thinly. Here’s how: 

Lay a chicken breast half on a cutting board. Holding a very sharp knife parallel to the board, cut into—but not through—the thick side of the meat until you can open the top layer like opening a book. Place the butterflied breast between sheets of wax paper and pound to about 1/3-inch thickness. (if you use butterflied breast halves, increase the cooking by 2 to 3 minutes.)

Boneless Breast Halves 
Lay the Knife Parallel to the Board
Open the Breast Like a Book
Pound to Even Thickness
Serves 4

  • 1 cup panko (or other fine, dry breadcrumbs)
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lb chicken tenders (about 8 2-oz pieces total), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • olive oil, for brushing, plus 3 tbsp, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups small grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • steamed asparagus, for serving (optional)
Pound the Tenders 
Charred Tomato Ingredients

  1. Place a wire rack over a large, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Combine the panko, grated cheese, and oregano in a large baking dish.
  3. Dip the chicken tenders in the whisked egg, letting excess drip off. Press into the panko mixture, turning to coat both sides. Place on the wire rack and refrigerate 20 minutes (to help the coating adhere and turn crisp during cooking).
Whisked Egg and Panko Mixture
Breaded Chicken
  1. While the chicken chills, heat a large cast-iron skillet (you’ll use it to cook the chicken too) over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes and sear, stirring a few times, until lightly charred and beginning to pop, 10-12 minutes total. Slowly add the wine (it will sizzle and pop) and stir, scraping up charred bits, 1 minute. 
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil, parsley, celery seed, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Do not wipe out the skillet.
Tomatoes Beginning to Char 
Wine Added
Charred Tomatoes
Charred Tomato Mixture
  1. Re-heat the skillet over medium heat and add the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, swirling to coat.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
  3. Add the tomato mixture to the skillet and stir until warm throughout, 1 minute.
Chicken Beginning to Cook
Cooked Chicken
Tomatoes Added
Serve the chicken and tomatoes with a side of steamed asparagus, if desired.

Chicken Milanese with Charred Tomatoes

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