There are a few very important things for us to discuss in regards to this post. The first thing is that THE CLASSICS are back!!! Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, or you’re new here, I have two ongoing segments on the blog that I like to alternate between, and that’s my Cheers to the Weekend posts on Fridays and The Classics. The Classics were on hiatus lately but they’re back and better than ever. As a little refresher course, The Classics are posts that are simple, straightforward kitchen staples that we should all have up our sleeves. Recipes that we could easily make time and time again, no fuss no muss. This one here is very special to me because it’s the first thing I cooked for my husband when we first started dating. I chose this dish to make for him because it was simple, delicious and stress free. Also because he had nothing in his kitchen. Literally one bowl, one skillet and some salt and pepper. The powdery pre-ground stuff that no one should have. That’s it. The man only ate hummus before he met me. I still make this chicken all the time for him because it reminds us of that first I cooked for him.
So full disclaimer is that this isn’t traditional chicken paillard. I’m acknowledging this from the get go so that I don’t get angry emails or comments on how this isn’t the way it’s made. There are various different takes on this dish and although this isn’t the most authentic, it’s my version and I know you’ll love it regardless. Traditionally it’s not breaded and lightly fried like mine is, but I do love that crispiness from the chicken because it offsets the salad so well. This is the easiest dish you’ll ever make, and you’ll be so glad you did.
The first thing we want to do is season the chicken cutlets on both sides with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. It’s important to season the chicken well at this stage, because you want it to be as flavorful as possible.
**Tip: I cannot stress enough just how much I love garlic and onion powder (or granulated garlic and onion). I use these two almost as much as I use salt and pepper. They add so much flavor to anything. Keep in mind though that you want garlic or onion powder or granulated garlic or onion, not garlic or onion salt. You want to be able to control the amount of salt that goes into your dish.**
Let’s set up our dredging station. This is very important. One dish should contain seasoned flour. That’s all-purpose flour mixed with onion, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Then in a separate dish, whisk the eggs, and in a third, you want to mix panko, plain breadcrumbs, and some more seasonings.
**Tip: With a dish this simple, you don’t want it to be bland at all. So the best way to do this is to season every step of the way. Season as you go. So you’re not only seasoning the chicken, but also the flour, and the breadcrumbs!**
To coat the chicken, first pass it through the flour, on both sides, shaking off the excess and then go into the egg, and then finally into the breadcrumbs. Just make sure you pat the chicken well on both sides so that the breadcrumbs evenly coat the cutlets. Transfer the chicken onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and continue coating the rest of the chicken.
Once all the chicken has been coated well, allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before frying. This ensures that the coating sticks to the chicken during frying.
Fry each cutlet in about 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet over moderate heat, until golden brown and crispy. Because the cutlets are so thin, they’ll cook up in no time.
**Note: You want to fry the chicken in batches to ensure even browning. Also, if the breadcrumbs in the skillet burn, wipe it out with some paper towels and add more oil as needed.**
Transfer the chicken to a clean wire rack, set over a baking sheet and continue frying the rest of the chicken. The wire rack allows the chicken to not get soggy, and keeps it crispy. You can keep the chicken warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven while you fry the rest.
And now for the salad. It’s the world simplest salad and it literally takes no effort at all. In a large bowl, toss together the mixed greens (or baby arugula), cherry tomatoes, bocconcini, shaved parmesan, salt, pepper, oil and balsamic vinegar until evenly combined. It’s that simple.
Whenever I mix a salad together, I always season it lightly with salt and pepper. It might seem like something so minuscule when cooking, but it really makes a world of difference. Give it a try next time.
So to serve this, place a cutlet on a plate and then pile the salad on top. You can top it with a few more parmesan shavings and a lemon wedge on the side. When you go to eat it, just squeeze the lemon over the top. That added touch of fresh lemon juice adds a bright pop to the dish.
If you want to add another level to this dish, you can also add some avocado to the salad. Sometimes I do that whenever I have an avocado lying around. I’ve also added pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to it as well for that added crunch.
I’ve also made this dish with baby arugula instead of mixed greens, and I love that because baby arugula is very peppery and gives the dish a nice bite. But mixed greens are a subtle choice for such a simple dish, so keep that in mind. Just multiple options for ya.
It might not be the most authentic chicken paillard, but it’s my chicken paillard and it’s very close to my heart. Plus it’s the easiest dish you’ll ever make and even if you think you can’t cook, you can definitely make this with your eyes closed because all you’re really cooking is chicken if you can call that cooking, and it’s super delicious too so it’s a win win.
- 4 chicken cutlets
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder or granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 (5-ounce) bag mixed greens
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 (12-ounce) container bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls), cut in half
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Season the cutlets, on both sides, with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon onion powder. Set aside.
- In a shallow dish, combine the flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, remaining garlic powder, onion powder, and ½ teaspoon paprika. In a separate shallow dish, whisk the eggs until smooth. In a separate shallow dish, combine the panko, breadcrumbs, remaining salt, pepper, paprika and parsley.
- To coat the chicken, dip each cutlet into the flour first, shaking off excess, and then dipping into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs. Make sure to pat the chicken well on both sides so the breadcrumbs evenly coat the chicken. Place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Continue coating the remaining chicken in the same way. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes to allow the coating to stick.
- Set a medium sauté pan over moderate heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, once hot, add one piece of chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown and crispy, flip over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set over a baking sheet, to prevent them from getting soggy. Continue to cook the remaining chicken, adding more oil as needed. If the breadcrumbs in the pan burn, wipe it out with a few paper towels and add fresh oil.
- In a large bowl, toss together the greens, tomatoes, bocconcini, parmesan, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper until evenly combined.
- To serve, place a piece of chicken on a plate and top with salad. Serve with a lemon wedge and enjoy!