A butterflied and tenderized chicken breast is widely known as a chicken cutlet, but you can call it a "paillard" if you want to sound fancy. Cutting a boneless, skinless chicken breast open, unfolding it and pounding it flat with a mallet turns it into a piece of meat that's quick and easy to cook. The uniform thickness means even cooking, which is harder to achieve with an irregularly shaped full breast. It also means shorter cooking times and less risk of drying out the meat. For a simple, tasty meal, bread chicken cutlets and fry or "oven-fry" them.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit if you're baking the chicken breast for an oven-fried-style preparation. Because it eliminates the oil used in frying, this is the lower calorie preparation. Give the oven 30 minutes to get this hot. Also, line a baking tray with foil and lightly grease it with nonstick spray or cooking oil.
Spread all-purpose flour over a plate. Use enough to fully coat both sides of the pounded breast. Beat an egg in a bowl an put it next to the plate of flour. Then, spread the breading on another plate on the other side of the bowl. Use panko breadcrumbs, which cook well and add a nice crunch. Mix in salt and pepper to taste, along with any other herbs and spices you want to use, such as thyme, tarragon, oregano or basil. You can also mix in crushed pistachios or pecans, cornmeal, grated Parmesan cheese or other ingredients for more interesting flavor.
Heat a large cast iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat for several minutes if you're pan frying the butterflied, tenderized boneless chicken breast. Coat the bottom liberally with cooking oil.
Dredge the breast in flour, pressing down lightly with one hand to ensure complete coverage. Lift it up and gently shake off the excess. Submerge the chicken in egg next, using your other hand. Pull it out and hold it vertically so the excess runs off. Then, dredge the cutlet in the breadcrumbs with the first, dry hand, pressing down lightly. Again, gently shake off the excess.
Place the breaded breast on the lined baking tray and put it into the middle of the oven or lay it in the pan. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes per side or fry for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. The breadcrumbs should turn golden brown, the chicken should be white all the way through and its juices should run clear when cut.
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- Cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165 F.
- Store the boneless chicken breast below 40 F until cooking. Use or freeze it within two days of purchase.
- Wash your hands after handling raw chicken and raw egg; sanitize all cutlery, dishes, cutting boards and other surfaces and items used for raw chicken and raw egg.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, travel, and lifestyle writer living with his family in Orlando, Florida. He has professional experience to complement his love of cooking and eating, having worked for 10 years both front- and back-of-house in casual and fine dining restaurants. He has written print and web pieces on food and drink topics for Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and other publications.
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