Baked Chicken Milanese

Baked Chicken Milanese

baked chicken cutlets topped with arugula, tomato, and onion salad

Did you ever notice how sometimes the more you eat of something, the more of it you want to eat? People say that about sugar, usually after they’ve completely forsaken it and find their cravings are gone. Since I’m pretty sure I’ve never gone a full day without something sweet, I can’t say whether I’d have the same awakening. But I just identified one food where it definitely applies: Breaded chicken cutlets.

This past weekend, we went to visit Stephen’s family. And as usual, chicken parm was on the menu. My brother-in-law manned the stove, frying up thin, golden cutlets for the better part of an hour. Most were set aside to be used for dinner later, but he’d always leave one out, cut into small pieces for nibbling. I’m pretty sure I ate the equivalent of six full cutlets, nibble by finger-licking-good nibble. Stephen, too—and then he had dinner! I was so stuffed by that point, I took just a taste.

After such a feast, Stephen and I both wanted something lighter for the coming week. So why did Chicken Milanese pop into my head? Sure, it’s topped with salad—peppery arugula, juicy tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onion with loads of lemon juice and a splash of olive oil—but underneath the greens lurks a breaded chicken cutlet.

I texted Stephen, to see how he’d feel if I made it so soon after our fried cutlet blowout. He must’ve been hungry when I wrote, because the answer was immediate: “Yum!”

You’ve probably noticed, this post is entitled Baked Chicken Milanese. No actual frying occurred, so they’re resolution-friendly. My adorably picky kid will eat the plain cutlet. And while I had seconds on the bright, lemony salad, I only ate one cutlet—half of a single breast. I left the table very pleased with myself indeed, with leftovers to extend the breaded-cutlet-eating for yet another day.

Baked Chicken Milanese
Serves 4-6

1 small shallot or red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups plain dried breadcrumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more for salad
freshly ground pepper to taste
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, halved, one half cut into six wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups baby arugula
shaved Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a cooling rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and coat with non-stick spray, then set aside.

  1. Put the onion into a small bowl of ice water and set aside.
  2. Put the flour into a shallow bowl or a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. In another shallow bowl, combine the eggs and grated Parmesan. Put the breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper into a third bowl (or another bag).
  3. Cut each chicken breast in half horizontally to make 6 thin cutlets. Dredge one cutlet in the flour and shake off excess, then transfer to the egg-cheese mixture and allow excess to drip off (it will be thick, so scrape gently with a fork, if you like), and finally transfer to the breadcrumb mixture and coat both sides thoroughly. Move to the prepared baking sheet, and repeat with remaining cutlets.
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  5. While chicken is baking, prepare the salad: Drain the onions and pat dry, then transfer to a medium bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes plus a squeeze of juice from one lemon half, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss.
  6. Put the arugula into another medium bowl and toss with remaining olive oil, the remaining juice in the lemon half, salt, and pepper.
  7. To serve, place one chicken cutlet on each plate and top with about a cup of arugula, a spoonful of the tomato mixture, and about a tablespoon of shaved Parmesan. Pass lemon wedges at the table.

MAKE BABY FOOD: Because of the varying textures and the acidity of the lemon juice, I’d serve this as finger food—I don’t see it pureeing well.