One of the unforeseen benefits of having two kids in college is that their expanded social circles now encompass friends from the wider New York area, plus visitors to the New York area, plus friends just interning in the New York area for the summer. All of this translates to more guests at the dinner table, which means the weeknight kitchen has been generating a parade of summer crowdpleasers: two weeks ago was a Veggie Burger spread (with fixins) and corn on the cob for Ron; last night, for Nate, was a cold vermicelli and cabbage salad (from Hannah Che’s new book The Vegan Chinese Kitchen, coming in September); tonight, for Jazzy, is Tagliatelle with Corn, Tomatoes, and “Onion Bacon” from page 87 of The Weekday Vegetarians. There was also a platter of the ever versatile golden fried chicken cutlet for Grace. I love this one in particular when I’m feeding meat-eaters because it’s make-ahead and there are endless ways to jeuje them up. Such as:
10 Ways to Serve a Chicken Cutlet
- Serve with a dollop of Maggi Tamarind Sauce or your favorite chutney
- Serve with a dollop of spicy mayo, 3:1 mixture of mayo to Sriracha with a squeeze of lime
- Serve drizzled with an herby ranch dip (page TK The Weekday Vegetarians)
- Serve drizzled with a limey-soy sauce (juice from one lime, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, chopped scallions)
- Serve alongside Peruvian green sauce
- Serve with homemade barbecue sauce
- Serve tossed into any green salad, but particularly one with arugula, fresh summer tomatoes, red onion, Parm, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon
- Serve showered in fresh herbs: chives, parsley, dill, mint, tarragon
- Add any of the following to the breadcrumbs before you dredge: 2 teaspoons mustard powder, a pinch of cayenne, fresh thyme leaves, sesame seeds, or freshly grated Parmesan; 1 tablespoon curry powder
- In between potato rolls and packed with slaw.
Basic Chicken Cutlets (in case you forgot!)
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as necessary
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups plain or panko bread crumbs (see note)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts; if they are large, thick pieces, slice them in half horizontally or pound them to create an even thickness throughout (place chicken in between plastic wrap and bang using a rolling pin or a meat pounder); you could also buy thin sliced cutlets
Add oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. Set up your dredging stations: one rimmed plate for the eggs, one plate for the flour, and one plate for the bread crumbs seasoned with the salt and pepper. Using a fork coat your chicken pieces first in the flour (shaking off the excess), then in the egg, then in the crumbs pressing the chicken into the crumbs to thoroughly coat.
Fry each breast in the oil for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Try not to crowd the pan. The cutlets are cooked when chicken is firm to the touch but not rock hard.
Remove and drain the chicken on to a paper-towel-lined dinner plate tented with foil if you have more pieces to fry. Add more oil to the pan and fry the remaining breasts. Once all the chicken is cool enough to handle, slice on the bias into pieces as shown. Do you have to do this? No, but it makes serving a little easier.
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