Fried Chicken Cutlets

I woke up at my usual 5:30am and the first thing I made coffee was coffee. Yes, I make coffee. I have tried those “pods” and have not found one that I like. They remind me of an old sci-fi movie. “The pods are coming! The pods are coming!” I digress. It’s early and I have not had my coffee yet. We will have to cover the making of “Real” coffee later on this year in a breakfast blog.

Last night was a chicken entre’. Fried chicken cutlets to be more specific. I started by getting home and opening a bottle of beer.  Jennifer came home shortly after that. I put on some music while she watched TV.  I began with the chicken. It came from Trader Joes grocery store, which I love but this particular chicken is frozen by them and is individual culets in a zip top bag. I find this very convenient after working all day. This meant however thawing out the chicken carefully in the microwave. If you’re not careful how you thaw it out you get microwaved chicken and there is nothing worse than microwaved chicken. Well I suppose there is but I can’t think of it right now.

While the chicken was defrosting, I preheated the oven. After the chicken was defrosted if any of the edges get a little cooked, I trim them off and throw it away. Next, I beat two eggs in a shallow bowl and get out the flavored breadcrumbs. I trim off the little bit of fat that might remain on the cutlets and filet them in half or even thirds so they are thin. If I had more energy I would have even pounded them thinner with a meat mallet but it was Wednesday so that meant easy and quick.  

I dredged the chicken in the egg and then the breadcrumbs making sure to cover them completely so no wet egg was showing. Then as the vegetable oil was heating up in my favorite large All-Clad pan, the chicken rested. Helping to adhere its soon to be crunchy goodness to the chicken.

I fried them over medium high heat or medium heat. It’s critical that you don’t fry at too high a temp or you will burn the bread crumbs BEFORE the chicken has a chance to cook. Once they are a deep golden brown I move them onto a baking dish on paper towels and place them in the oven. This keeps them warm and they can finish cooking all the way through slowly.

While the chicken was in the oven, I was a good husband this time and made not one but two vegetables. The first was a large green squash or Zucchini. That I cut up into coins about a quarter inch wide. Make sure you cut things evenly. We will discuss that more much later on too I am sure. I cooked these in a second pan with a bit of the hot oil from the chicken. I seasoned them with garlic power, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Hey! Don’t judge, it’s a weekday day and I’m cooking! The second vegetable was baby spinach that Jennifer just did not not want in her salads anymore so I was cooking it in butter and added a clove of roasted garlic to it that I had left over from the weekend.

Jen said it all turned out yummy, particularly the vegetables. I was just happy she liked it. Neither of us like our vegetable cooked to within an inch of their life so after having my second beer with dinner and watching Jeopardy it was a good night.

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2021

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