Today we are going to be talking about fried chicken.
Not fried chicken that you have to heat up a vat of oil for, though. Easy weeknight fried chicken that you make right on the stovetop, that doesn't make a huge mess or tons of oil stink, and that is perfectly crispy and delicious every single time. Perfect for a Monday, practically a health food, that sort of thing.
I know fried chicken on a weeknight isn't something we do a ton (it's super rare for us, although I wish it weren't so), but once you have the method down it really doesn't take a ton of extra time or effort, and the results are SO rewarding. This particular chicken cutlet is wonderful on its own with a side dish or two, but is also yummy sliced over a salad or doused with some marinara for a quick chicken-parm type of meal. Or OR! You could put it on a sandwich and that wouldn't be a bad thing at all.
A note on portioning here: Once you pound a chicken breast (which is really a half breast, but the regular cut from the grocery store, boneless and skinless) to a thin thickness and bread it, it can seem pretty huge. If you have big appetites you could certainly make one chicken breast per person, but I find that one chicken breast is more than enough for two servings, especially with other things on the plate. Of course, you can also make ten of these at a time and have leftovers. Make ten for sure.
The messy part here is breading the chicken, but I just do my best to not get flour everywhere and use plates that can go in the dishwasher, so by the time the chicken has fried I've cleaned up the breading nonsense. No biggie! Start with the chicken - one boneless, skinless breast butterflied (cut in half but not all the way through) to make one large flat piece. If your chicken has a few thick spots you can pound them out between two layers of plastic wrap, but mine started out pretty flat. Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and pepper, and place it on a plate with some flour.
Next is an egg, beaten with a fork.
Then panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese for the crispy brown yum factor. Lightly dip the chicken in the flour, the egg, then the bread crumbs and parm, pressing on as much panko and parmesan as you can. Let the chicken rest on a plate while you heat the skillet.
Preheat a skillet to medium heat with about ¼ inch oil - olive oil or whatever you generally cook with. The oil should be hot but not smoking. When the skillet is very hot, add the chicken and let it fry without disturbing it on the first side (time to do the dishes, sorry). The chicken should sizzle! If it doesn't, turn the heat up. If you smell the breadcrumbs burning, turn the heat down and take the skillet off the heat for just a minute to let the oil cool off without burning the breading.
When you can see the chicken starting to cook up the edges (after 5-7 minutes, like in the photograph above), use a spatula to carefully flip the chicken. The first side should be golden brown but not burned - check it earlier than this if you think your oil might be too hot.
Let the chicken continue cooking for another five minutes or so until the crust is crispy on both sides and the chicken is cooked through.
I like to let the chicken rest for a few minutes on a cutting board then slice the chicken so it's a bit easier to manage on the plate and looks pretty.
Sprinkle some coarse salt over the chicken for extra flavor, plate it with anything else you want to eat, and serve!
I mean. This chicken with roasted home fries (showing you that recipe next) and green beans is certainly indulgent, but fairly balanced with lots of water and portion control.
The chicken itself, though, is just perfect. Juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, salty and flavorful from the parmesan, so many yesses all around.
Try this soon!
- 1 chicken breast, butterflied and pounded thin (or two thin-cut chicken breast pieces)
- ¼ cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- Preheat a large skillet to medium heat with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and set up a breading station: arrange the flour in a shallow dish, then the egg, lightly beaten, in another, then the panko and parmesan, mixed together, in a third.
- Prepare the chicken for frying. Gently dredge the chicken in the flour, tapping off any excess. Dip the floured chicken in the egg, then the panko mixture, pressing panko and parmesan to the chicken to help it stick. Place the chicken on a plate until ready to fry.
- When the olive oil is hot but not smoking, place the chicken gently in the pan. Turn the heat up if it does not sizzle immediately, or down if the oil is smoking.
- Fry the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Adjust the heat as necessary so the oil does not get too cool or too hot.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and slice if desired before serving. This recipe is easily multiplied, the only thing to remember is to not crowd the skillet when frying to ensure a crispy crust.