Tired of your old chicken recipes? Try something older

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Frank Chlumsky

I'm sure you've heard it before: "What goes around comes around." It's a true and tidy bit of proverbial wisdom, generally presented as a warning, and more often related to karma rather than cooking. But throughout my long and happy career, I've (often disappointingly) watched the world of cooking move into that nether world of the radical avant garde, leaving many a good dish behind.

And so, I humbly?#34;and happily?#34;offer the same admonition. And a somewhat forgotten recipe as well.

Chicken (or veal) Francese is a quick and simple dish that was once a mainstay on menus in almost every "red sauce" Italian restaurant in Chicago. It's similar to such dishes as veal Marsala, where thin veal (scaloppini) are dusted with flour, sauteed and finished with Marsala wine, or crispy chicken Milanese, in which the cutlets are coated with breadcrumbs. Chicken Francese is distinguished by a soft, delicate coating that comes from dredging the cutlets in flour, dipping them in beaten eggs, and then coating them again in flour before sauteing them in foaming butter. The satisfying dish is finished with an unforgettably delectable lemon sauce. Here's how to make it.

And remember, what goes around comes around!

Serves four

Chicken cutlets:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 8 ounces each

1 cup all-purpose flour

salt and pepper

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons milk or water

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons shallot or onion, finely minced

cup dry vermouth or white wine

2 lemons, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

 

Trim the excess fat from the chicken breasts and separate the two halves.

Place the breasts on a cutting board and slice each one in half by placing one hand on top of the cutlet and then slicing through the center horizontally.

Place the cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them to inch thickness.

Mix 1 teaspoon salt and teaspoon ground pepper with the flour.

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the milk or water.

Season the cutlets with salt and pepper.

Dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess.

Dip the cutlets in the beaten egg.

Heat 1 tablespoons each of the butter and olive oil in a 12-inch, non-stick skillet over medium heat.

One by one, return each cutlet to the seasoned flour, coat well and shake off the excess flour.

Place 4 of the cutlets in the skillet and cook until lightly brown, about 2 minutes.

Turn the cutlets and brown on the other side, about 1 minute more.

Remove the cutlets to a platter.

Wipe out the skillet with paper towels.

Heat the rest of the butter and oil and repeat the process with the remaining cutlets.

Remove the cutlets to the platter.

Wipe out the skillet.

Add the shallot and dry vermouth to the pan.

Reduce the vermouth to half its volume.

Add the lemon slices.

Swirl in the remaining butter.

Pour the sauce over the cutlets.

Sprinkle the chopped parsley over all and serve.

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