“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Friday, September 7, 2012

Italian Chicken Cutlet and Caesar Salad

Anytime I have gone to some sort of formal Italian celebration, without a doubt there will be a lot of food, which goes without saying. But, the food I look forward to the most? It’s what I call Italian wedding “buffet” food. Crispy and crunchy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside classic Italian seasoned fried chicken cutlet. Perfect al dente spaghetti with garlic basil marinara sauce. And creamy Caesar salad. It’s incredibly simple and classic, but I love it. I love how well all the food mixes together. Have a bite of your chicken with some of the spaghetti or just with the sauce or mix your salad with the marinara? Or throw it all together is one bite and enjoy! It is so good.

I make my Ceasar dressing with a little balsamic vinegar; I really like what it does to the flavor. I also don’t just use plain old iceberg lettuce; I use crunchy romaine and peppery arugula, it gives the salad a nice kick. Now, I’m gonna be honest, I use ready made dressing. I LOVE Marie’s. It tastes homemade. You can make your own (which I have in the past) but sometimes if I don’t have the time, so I will just buy it.

Italian chicken cutlet brings back wonderful memories. When I was little and would go to my nonna’s, she would make me fried cauliflower, meatballs or fried chicken cutlet. Sometimes she made all three, since she knew how much I loved them. I wasn't like other kids. She would bring my brother and I to McDonalds and get me nuggets, but I barely ate them because I really didn’t like them. So, she would cook, just for me. For today, I will be sharing with you my Italian seasoned fried chicken cutlet and Caesar salad; the pasta will come tomorrow!! Let me know what you think!

Italian Seasoned Chicken Cutlet

4 filets of chicken breast
1 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ cup of parmigiana cheese
1 cup of canola oil
 2 eggs
1 cup of flour

Start off by getting your chicken out. Lay it on a cutting board with a large piece of plastic wrap directly covering the board. Put your chicken on the board and use the plastic the cover it. Start pounding away until it gets nice and thin. Repeat this method with every piece of chicken.

Next, start making your bread crumbs mix in a shallow bowl, big enough to put your chicken in. Combine the whole wheat breadcrumbs, (you can use whatever breadcrumbs you want, I just look for any way to tweak it and make it slightly “healthier) salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil and parmigiana cheese.

Whisk the eggs; again use a shallow bowl for the chicken. Next, put your flour in a bowl (you guessed it! Shallow and big enough for the chicken!)

Take the chicken and dip it in flour, make sure the chicken is mostly coated. Pick it up and let a little of the flour shake off. Now put the chicken in the egg and make sure it all gets wet. Next, put it in the breadcrumb mix and really use your fingers to get everything to stick nicely. Repeat this with all of the chicken. Put all of your coated chicken breasts on a plate for the mixture to really set it.

Prepare a deep frying pot with 1 cup of canola oil over high heat (I don’t use olive oil to fry; I find it can be too bitter.) Let the pan get very hot. Start by slowly putting the chicken in, one at a time. Let it cook on each side for around 8-10 minutes (every stove’s heat varies, so please make sure it is thoroughly cooked!) When you have done this with all of the chicken, carefully take them out of the pan and put on a plate to dry. I like to cover my plate with a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Let it cool for at least ten minutes before serving. Next up…Caesar salad!!

Caesar Salad

1 large stalk of romaine lettuce
2 handfuls of fresh arugula
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
¼ cup parmigiana cheese
3 tablespoons Marie’s Caesar dressing (use whatever brand you like!)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Clean your lettuce and then chop it. Put it in a large bowl. Add the fresh arugula directly on top of the lettuce. Toss. Sprinkle in salt, pepper and cheese. Toss again. Add the dressing and balsamic vinegar, toss some more!! Serve your cool, crunchy and creamy salad with a nice and warm Italian seasoned chicken cutlet. Buon Appetito!!