Photo by Johnny Miller
Food Network star chef Alex Guarnaschelli adds an extra layer of crispy to chicken cutlets.
Give me a breaded chicken cutlet and I’m a happy woman. I’m not too particular, cuisine-wise, about my cutlet cravings – I’ll dive into a plate of chicken schnitzel, chicken katsu, pollo empanizado or chicken-fried chicken with equal amounts of gusto.
The following recipe takes the perfection that is golden, crispy, thin-pounded chicken breast to a deeper level, thanks to the addition of crispy prosciutto and sage leaves. It comes to us from Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s months-old book, “The Home Cook” (Clarkson Potter, $35). The Food Network star and executive chef (Butter, New York) has blended two of her favorite recipes (chicken cutlets and saltimbocca) to create this dish. And the humble cutlet applauds in gratitude.
The following recipe and author’s note is reprinted from chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s book, “The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart,” with permission of its publisher, Clarkson Potter.
Chicken Cutlets with Prosciutto and Sage
“This is an excuse for me to combine two of my favorite dishes: chicken cutlets and saltimbocca. Piney sage leaves and salty prosciutto give the cutlets a real boost of energy and flavor. I like to use finely ground bread crumbs and bread the cutlets twice. I simply put store-bought crumbs into the food processor to grind them into a finer texture. I love biting through that added layer of breading and then tasting the lemon and red wine vinegar in one moment and the prosciutto and sage in the other. It’s like bright and vibrant combined with salty and earthy.” – Alex Guarnaschelli
Serves 2 to 4
- 4 thin skinless chicken cutlets (about 4 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups plain finely ground dried bread crumbs
- 3⁄4 cup canola oil
- 8 slices prosciutto (31⁄2 to 4 ounces), torn into bite-size pieces
- 16 to 24 fresh sage leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves, grated
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Crispy sage leaves and prosciutto top these glorious chicken cutlets.
Photo: Photo by Johnny Miller
Make the dish
- Prepare the cutlets: Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with the oregano and with salt to taste. Put the eggs in a medium shallow bowl and the bread crumbs in another. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg (on both sides) and then in the bread crumbs, shaking off any excess. Arrange the cutlets on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, reserving the bowls of eggs and crumbs. Repeat the breading process with the cutlets. Refrigerate again.
- Cook the prosciutto and the sage: In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add half of the prosciutto pieces and cook over low heat until crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prosciutto to a plate lined with a kitchen towel. Add another tablespoon of the canola oil and repeat with the remaining prosciutto. Add the sage leaves to the skillet and cook until they turn pale in color and become crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer them to the towel-lined plate and season with salt. Off the heat, stir the garlic into the cooking oil and season it with salt to taste. Allow the garlic to simmer in the warm oil for 1 to 2 minutes to cook off the raw flavor, and then transfer the garlic and oil to a medium bowl.
- Cook the chicken cutlets: Heat the remaining canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it starts to smoke lightly, add the chicken cutlets in a single layer and cook on their first side until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn them over onto the other side and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the cutlets to a kitchen towel to drain. Note: It’s better to cook these in batches than to overcrowd the pan.
- Make the vinaigrette and finish the dish: In the bowl containing the reserved garlic and oil, whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the cutlets on a serving platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with the sage leaves and prosciutto.