Fried chicken + red wine are what dreams are made of. While everyone loves fried chicken, not everyone likes hovering over a boiling pot of oil. Instead, try these crispy chicken cutlets, which cook quickly and with far less oil than traditional fried chicken, but with even more crunchy surface area. Contrary to popular belief, you can fry with olive oil. In fact, good quality extra-virgin olive oil has a high smoke point and gives amazing flavor.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6-8 ounces each
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
3 cups baby arugula
Butterfly the chicken breasts by cutting them horizontally (parallel to the cutting board) almost to the other side and opening like a book. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap—or inside a large Ziploc bag—and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin to a more-or-less round shape with an even ¼” thickness. Season both sides of breasts with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to fry.
Put the flour, eggs, and panko on 3 separate plates. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels and heat oven to 200°F.
In a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat, add oil to a depth of approximately 1/8”. You want it to come at least half way up the chicken without covering it. Heat until the oil is shimmering, but not smoking.
While oil heats, dredge one chicken breast in the flour, coating well, shaking all excess flour back onto the plate. Dredge in the beaten eggs, letting excess drip back onto the plate, then dredge in the panko, being sure it’s fully coated.
Gently lay the chicken in the hot oil and fry about 2 minutes, until the bottom is a deep golden brown. Carefully flip and cook until the second side is done, about 1-½ to 2 minutes longer. Remove to the paper towel-lined surface and repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Lower heat slightly if the oil starts to smoke. Keep the cooked schnitzel warm in the oven while the others cook.
While chicken cooks, dress arugula with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Transfer schnitzel to a plate and top with arugula. Repeat with remaining chicken and arugula.
WINE PAIRING: A younger, more fruit-driven style of Ribera gives nice contrast to savory fried chicken but can still stand up to its heartiness. Try Val Sotillo “Finca Buenavista,” Resalte “Vendimia Seleccionada,” or Torres Celeste Crianza.