Chicken cutlets are a staple in my family’s kitchen. It didn’t mater what my mom was making for dinner, the odds that she might throw in some chicken cutlets were always high, especially if someone was coming over for dinner. I can’t remember even one guest in my mom’s kitchen that didn’t love her chicken cutlets. They are the simplest yet most delicious option in mom’s repertoire. Her grandkids were raised on them and for many years ate them almost exclusively. Looking back, we must not have had any vegetarian friends. Of course, mom would have had an option for them as well, but if you eat meat, you should really try the cutlets.
For the corn…
Back in the 70’s when you didn’t find as many fresh vegetables in grocery stores as we do today, my mom would make a can of corn to go with the cutlets (especially during the winter). There was no recipe. Just open can, pour into pan, add a tab of butter, a dash of salt and heat. This was my friend Mar’s favorite meal. She spent many nights around our table eating this very combination (usually when her mom made something she didn’t like). Now that there are so many fresh vegetable options, mom rarely makes canned corn alongside her chicken cutlets, but I had to add this nostalgic note as an homage to Mar and her childhood visits to our table.
If you enjoyed this story, be sure to check out the blog post The Age Old Question: What’s For Dinner?
- 1 lb chicken breast thinly sliced
- 1-2 eggs
- 1-2 cups bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- garlic powder (optional)
- Onion powder (optional)
- Oil for frying
- 1 bay leaf
- Beat eggs in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper and if desired some garlic and onion powder (optional).
- Put bread crumbs in a second shallow dish (enough to coat all of the chicken). Sometimes I also add seasoning to the bread crumbs to layer the flavor. Season according to your taste.
- If the chicken slices are too thick, pound them flat with a meat tenderizer first. I cover the chicken slices with plastic wrap or waxed paper and then hammer the chicken flat. You can usually find meat for chicken cutlet that is ready to use though. I rarely have to use the tenderizer.
- Dip a piece of chicken first in egg to coat both sides and then in the bread crumbs to also coat both sides and set aside. Repeat this with all of the chicken.
- In a shallow skillet heat enough oil to cover the breaded pieces of chicken, over medium heat. I usually drop a tiny bread crumb in the oil to test the heat. If it sizzles, it’s ready.
- Very carefully, place the pieces of breaded chicken in the oil. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of the skillet. Keep an eye on the heat. If the oil begins to bubble and splash, reduce the heat just enough to keep the frying manageable.
- After a few minutes, when the edges of the chicken begin to turn golden, carefully flip the chicken and let it cook for a few minutes or until the other side is also golden. I use kitchen tongs for this. I like a crunchy exterior so I usually cook them a little longer.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet with kitchen tongs allowing the oil to drip from the chicken back into the skillet and then set the chicken aside on a paper towel lined dish. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Serve immediately.
- Note: In my opinion, chicken cutlets are best served right away while they are warm and crunchy. If you have leftover, they are great in sandwiches or just as cold finger food. Many people reheat them, but I do not. Although I have also been known to eat the leftovers straight from the aluminum foil they were wrapped in, right out of the refrigerator.