This Provence-inspired Chicken Milanese recipe is a preview from chef Laurent Gras's multiple IACP award-winning cookbook, My Provence.
4 servings | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 20 minutes
For the Pickled Cucumber
- ¾ cup (200 ml) water
- ½ cup (100 ml) rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
- 1 seedless cucumber or 2 Japanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) sea salt
- ½ cup (100 g) crème fraîche
- 1 small bunch chives, finely chopped
For the Chicken Milanese
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 2 whole chickens
- Sea salt
- ¾ cup (100 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup (40 g) panko
- ¾ cup (40 g) grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 3 tablespoons (40 ml) canola oil
- 3 tablespoons (40 g) unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, split in half, seeds removed
- 2 sprigs of Italian parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
- 1 handful (20 g) wild arugula
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
For the Pickled Cucumbers
In a small saucepan, combine the water, rice wine vinegar, and sugar, and bring to a boil. Cool down completely to room temperature. This pickling solution can be made in advance and stored in a jar until needed. Place the sliced cucumber in a bowl, season with sea salt, and let set for 1 hour. Drain and pat dry the cucumber to remove its natural juices. Combine the cucumber with the pickling solution. Cover with a plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Drain again and pat dry. Add the crème fraîche and the chive. Season with additional salt, if necessary.
For the Chicken Milanese
Trim the breasts of any fat, silver skin, or small nerves. You can keep the small filet or "tender" attached to the breast or remove it, whichever you prefer. Butterfly the breast. To do so, place the breast flat on the work surface, smooth side up, and lay your fingers flat on top. Using a sharp knife, slice into the thick side of the breast from the side, parallel to the work surface, splitting the thickness of the flesh exactly in half. Slice ¾ of the way into the breast: if you’ve cut the meat into two pieces, you’ve gone too far. Open the two pieces to spread out the breast. The result should be twice as wide and half as thick as the original breast meat. Repeat with the remaining breasts.
Season both sides with sea salt. Line up four large plates or bowls on your work surface. In the first, place the flour. In the second, beat the eggs and season with a generous pinch of salt. In the third, combine the panko and the Parmigiano. Leave the fourth empty. Dip the first breast in the flour, tapping off any excess. Dip the floured breast in the egg mixture, rolling it around to cover completely. Drain off any excess egg. Then place the breast on the panko mixture and gently press the crumbs into the flesh. Place the breaded breast on the empty plate and repeat with the remaining breasts.
Place a large nonstick frying pan over high heat and coat the bottom with a thin layer of canola oil. Place the breaded chicken in the pan. You will probably only be able to fit 2 breasts in the pan—they need some space to brown evenly and shouldn’t be crowded. Use a second frying pan if you have one or cook the chicken in 2 batches, keeping the first batch warm on a rack in a 250°F (120°C) oven. After 5 or 6 minutes, when the breadcrumbs begin to take on some color—use a fork to lift up an edge and check without flipping the breast over—turn down the heat to medium. Flip the breast over and brown the other side. Toward the end of the cooking, remove the oil from the pan using a spoon. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) of the fresh butter, and once it melts, start to baste the breast until fully cooked. It usually takes an additional 7 or 8 minutes. The crust should be an even brown when done. Remove the breast from the pan and place on a serving plate (or on a rack until all the breasts are cooked). Squeeze the lemon juice in the pan. Swirl the pan to emulsify the butter and add the chopped parsley. Pour this pan sauce over the chicken before serving.
To Assemble the Dish
Toss the arugula with some olive oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange the arugula on the plate with the cucumbers. Lay the chicken breast on top and drizzle with the pan sauce.
Get this recipe and over 40 other delicious Provence-inspired dishes in Laurent Gras: My Provence, the award-winning online cookbook from renowned chef Laurent Gras, for $9.99.