Cheese-Crusted Cutlets with Raw Sauce and Milanese-Style Rice Pilaf
- 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
- 3 large eggs
- Splash milk
- 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
- Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup orzo pasta
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 pinches saffron threads
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 1/2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or 7 to 8 small Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup torn or thinly sliced basil leaves
- 3 to 4 stems fresh tarragon, leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Butterfly the chicken breasts open by cutting into and across but not all the way through the breast with a sharp knife. Lightly pound out the chicken under plastic wrap and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Set up a breading station: 1 pan of flour, 1 pan of eggs beaten with 2 tablespoons flour and a splash of milk, and 1 pan of bread crumbs seasoned with nutmeg and combined with cheese. Coat the chicken pieces in the flour, then in the egg and then in the bread crumb mixture. Set aside.
Arrange a cooling rack over a baking sheet and put it in the middle of the oven.
Add the butter to a pot with tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the orzo to the warm butter and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, then add garlic and stir a minute more. Add rice and coat in butter. Stir in the stock and the saffron threads and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook the rice until tender, about 17 to 18 minutes. Add the parsley and fluff with a fork.
Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Fry the chicken, 2 cutlets at a time, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the first 2 cutlets to the cooling rack in the oven to keep warm while you cook the second batch.
While the chicken cooks, combine the tomatoes, onions, basil, tarragon, and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Transfer the chicken from the oven to serving dishes and top with the raw tomato sauce. Serve the Milanese rice alongside.
Recipe courtesy of Robert Irvine