Monday, March 19, 2012

Schhh...it's really schnitzel...

Chicken Paillard may sound fancy, but it's really just schnitzel. The word "schnitzel" comes from the word "der Schnitz" meaning a slice or cut, and is a boneless piece of meat, hammered thinly, breaded and fried, and dates all the way back to the Romans, around the 1st century BC. In the Middle Ages, it became very popular in Northern Italy (Cotoletta alla Milanese), and Austria (Weiner Schnitzel), and made of veal. In fact, in Austria, "Weiner Schnitzel" is required BY LAW to be made of veal. However it came to be, it is a perfect way to cook a thin piece of meat quickly without drying it out, and is popular all around the globe. In Australia it is known as "Schnitty" or "Schnitter," in Iran it is called "Shenitsel," in Japan it is called "Tankatsu," in Latin America it is known as "Milanesa," and even in Texas, it was transformed into "Chicken Fried Steak." Traditionally, it is served simply with a lemon wedge to squeeze over the top. It is so versatile, with any cut of meat or fish, I think everyone should know this classic technique.

This recipe for "Chicken Paillard with Salad Greens and Creamy Parmesan Dressing," was inspired by Tyler Florence, from his book, Tyler Florence Family Meal. I love making this because everyone in my family LOVES it!!! After all, it's just about the only way to make a boneless, skinless chicken breast taste great! It is a complete meal on one plate! Add a glass of wine, and it is simply sensational!


Chicken Paillard with Salad Greens and Creamy Parmesan Dressing

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the paillard
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, or more if needed
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs, or more if needed
Canola oil, for frying

For the dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4-1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad
4 good handfuls of mixed salad greens or arugula
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 ounces bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls), halved, or pearl mozzarella

Fresh lemon wedges, for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, for garnish

Directions:

For the dressing
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar, cover and chill.

For the paillard
Place one chicken breast on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, make a slice down the center, but not all the way through.


Make another slice on each side, but not all the way through, to make it "open." (This makes it easier to pound out evenly.)


Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin, until a uniform thickness of about 1/2-inch thickness. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.


Prepare the Panko breading by setting up a breading station. Place flour on a plate, beaten eggs in a shallow bowl, and then the Panko on another plate or shallow bowl. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Now dredge each breast first in the flour, then the egg, and then the Panko, shaking off any excess after each step. Place the breaded chicken on a cookie sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 10-20 minutes. (This ensures that the breading will not fall off when cooking.)


In a large skillet, (I like non-stick), heat about 1/4 inch or so of the oil to about 350 degrees over medium to medium/high heat until the oil looks shimmery. I actually don't check the temperature. Instead, I drop a small piece of bread (usually taken from the end of a loaf) to see if it starts to bubble around the bread. Cook the chicken about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, tray, or cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

To serve
Mix together the salad greens, tomatoes, and mozzarella in a large bowl. Add as much dressing as you like, and toss well. (Refrigerate any remaining dressing for another use.) Plate each paillard on individual plates. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with a good handful of the salad. Garnish with a lemon wedge to be squeezed at the table. Pop open the wine and serve!

2 comments:

  1. Sorry -- there is no law in Austria that says that wiener schnitzel must be made with veal. It is often made with pork. In fact, sometimes it is on the same menu made with pork, and for a higher cost, with veal.

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  2. I appreciate your comment; however, according to touraustriavienna.com and other Austrian sites, the term "Weiner Schnitzel" IS protected by law, and any schnitzel called by that name must be made from veal. If it is made with pork, it must be called "Weiner Schnitzel vom Schwein." Thanks for the interest!!! For a pork version, check out http://robinsdinnernight.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-do-you-keep-busting-my-chops.html! Cheers!

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