I am cautiously giddy right now and have already turned the calendar to March. I am so done with winter, I can’t even muster up any humor. It’s all been sucked out of me by the arctic vortex. If you ever watched the movies “The Shining” or “The Day After Tomorrow”, you get it….or you lived it. Either way, it has been a nightmare.
Soft comfort foods like soups, stews and pasta are great, but don’t always work for such long stretches of misery. I don’t want to be a whining baby anymore. It’s time to bite something, preferably something tasty and crunchy. Here’s the last thing that put a smile on my face as I flipped the bird at winter.
8 – 10 thin sliced chicken cutlets
sift about 2 cups rice flour (best for crunch)and 1 tsp. garlic powder, and pinch of salt and pepper for dredging
2 cups Italian Panko breadcrumbs mixed with 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano
2 large eggs, beaten
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. sliced fresh mozzarella
First place the tomatoes, minced garlic and basil in a shallow 8 inch baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and add pinch of sea salt. Roast at 325 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour until slightly caramelized. While they are roasting, line up a bowl each of the flour, egg mixture and the Panko/Parm in assembly line fashion. Dip each cutlet right out of the package first in flour, then egg and then press into the breadcrumbs and lay out in large platter until all are coated. Let set for 10 minutes.
Heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil in a large frying pan and fry cutlets in small batches on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side and they turn golden brown. Do not crowd in pan or they will steam. Here is the important part. As they are done, lay them on a cooling rack like what you would use for cooling cookies. I use a cookie sheet lined with foil and put the rack on top. I lay each cutlet in one layer so air can circulate on top and under each cutlet which prevents them from steaming and getting soggy. When they are all done I place a slice of fresh mozzarella on each and put the whole tray in the oven until cheese melts. I add a scoop of the roasted tomatoes on top right before serving. You have all the good flavors of each ingredient with a nice crunch.
I like this with a salad and roasted asparagus. You can also use your own simple marinara sauce to save time, or enjoy the cutlets on crunchy Italian bread.
Wait……I think I hear robins singing out there!! It won’t be long now.