Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chicken Cutlets: Think Outside the Pan

Like many of you, chicken cutlets are a regular part of the dinner rotation in our house. They're easy to prepare (dip, bread, season, fry, repeat), they work well as either a sandwich or platter, and both kids and adults enjoy them (the last point being a biggie for parents with children who have picky appetites).

Occasionally, my wife and like to stray away from the standard frying method. We've tried baking the breaded cutlets to be a bit more healthy and to avoid the lingering fried smell, but weren't really happy with the end result. Too dry and not enough flavor. There are a few other alternatives to the standard cutlet that we've tried and really liked. I also have a few new ideas that I'll be experimenting with, and I'll be sure to post them as soon as I get to try them. Listed below are some of our favorites. These recipes are easy enough for you to judge for yourself the needed amount of ingredients, depending on your serving size.

Chicken Cutlet Roll-Ups
This dish works well with either breaded or unbreaded cutlets, although I prefer unbreaded. Season both sides of the cutlets with some salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders. Drizzle lightly with olive oil (no need to if you are breading the cutlets). Lay the cutlets flat, then add a layer of thin sliced ham or pepperoni, then a thin slice of provolone cheese. The pepperoni will add more of a spicy flavor, while the ham will be more mild. For a special treat, use a slice of prosciutto, a slice of provolone and a piece of fresh basil. Roll up the cutlet and hold in place with a toothpick. Bake in oven at 350ยบ for 20 minutes or until chicken is done. You can also cook on the grill, turning the chicken every 6 minutes until all sides are done. Be sure to use thin sliced cutlets for easy rolling.

Chicken Pretzel Tenders
This is a fun dish that kids always enjoy, and it also works well as a party or game day appetizer. The pretzels add a nice salty flavor, so no extra seasoning is needed. I've tried both baking and frying this dish, and actually prefer the fried method better. Crush up a bunch of pretzels into tiny pieces, but not to the point where they become powdery. You want to keep some crunchy texture. Simply batter the chicken tenders as you would for standard cutlets, substituting the pretzel crumbs for breadcrumbs. Fry or bake until tenders are done and outside is slightly crispy. For extra flavor, try frying in peanut oil with an added teaspoon of sesame oil. Of course, your regular frying oil will work just fine. Serve with honey mustard for dipping.

Marinated Chicken
Believe it or not, bottled marinade works great with cutlets. It's a quick and easy go-to when you have the marinade on hand. We've used a number of flavors, but always seem to gravitate back to the honey mustard. I would recommend tenders of thicker sliced cutlets. Poke the chicken with a fork to allow the marinade to works its magic. Place the chicken into a large zip-lock bag, add the marinade, shake it up and let it sit in the fridge for up to 8 hours. Place the cutlets into a baking pan or on your grill, discarding the excess marinade. Cook until the chicken is done.

* Do you have a suggestion for chicken cutlets? E-mail me at cucinadomenico@verizon.net, or post it on the Cucina Domenico Facebook Group page, and I'll be happy to post your recipe!

2 comments:

Valerie Marino said...

Neum uses wheat germ as breading and tosses them in buffalo sauce so it tastes good and hides the stuff that good for you!

Bea said...

Great post. thanks for sharing