It took hiring a babysitter for me to finally recognize the obvious—that boneless, skinless chicken breasts don’t offer much in the way of flavor. About a year ago, our sitter, Gina, started frying up chicken cutlets made from boneless thighs for our chunky, high-octane son Marlon. I’d get home from work, open the fridge, peel away the aluminum foil and take a nibble, and then another nibble, and then basically do all I could not to devour the entire plate. They were assertively seasoned, rich with flavor and perfectly crispy. If I were still in college, I reckon I could survive on them for an entire semester.
Of course, now that I’m all grown-up and a dad and whatnot, I’ve got to strive for something a bit more sophisticated. Which is where the Milanese comes in. I’ve always loved Veal Milanese, the pounded-thin, bone-in fried cutlet topped with a tangle of baby arugula and a mess of cherry tomatoes. But the fact is, using chicken thighs instead of veal actually packs more punch.
My wife Simone and I make Chicken Milanese throughout the year (although there’s something particularly appealing about it in the summer, especially when you pair it with a well-chilled bottle of rosé). Besides chicken thighs, are other go-to ingredient is panko, the Japanese breadcrumbs you can now get pretty much anywhere. They’re like tiny little shards that fry up extra crisp and brittle.
And, of course, we always make extra cutlets so Marlon can get his share too. Although, for now at least, he’s saying no to the arugula and tomato and yes to ketchup. (more…)