Crunchy Chicken Cutlets

Chicken cutlets are what Americans call--give or take--what we'd describe as escalopes, but such is my alliteration addiction, I had to go for this nomenclature. I could have called them Cornflake-Crunchy Chicken Cutlets as the crisp coating is provided not by breadcrumbs, but by cornflakes. This is particularly handy if you want a gluten-free crunch, though do check the cornflake packet to be sure. In theory, cornflakes should by their very nature be gluten-free but, because of cross-contamination issues in factories, that isn't always the case. If this isn't an issue, then use any cornflakes you like. You can buy chicken escalopes already beaten, but otherwise just buy a couple of chicken breasts and, one at a time, place them on a chopping board lined with plastic wrap, cover the chicken with another layer of plastic wrap and bash the living daylights out of them with a rolling pin. This is a gratifying way to de-stress at the end of a long day. Once flattened, each breast provides a generously portioned escalope (you could use just one chicken breast and halve it across before bashing) but I like the expansiveness of a plateful of crunchy cutlet, and all I'd suggest you'd eat alongside is a handful of arugula, dotted with some halved cherry tomatoes, dressed simply. That's to say, I sprinkle a few sea salt flakes over the salad-lined plates, then squeeze some lemon juice on top, followed by a glug of excellent olive oil.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Ingredients

2 chicken escalopes or breast fillets (200 to 300 grams [7 to 10.5 ounces] total), preferably organic

1/4 cup (70 grams) Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 egg

3 cups (75 grams) cornflakes

1 1/2 teaspoons pimenton picante or paprika

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

Cherry tomatoes and arugula or salad leaves of your choice, to serve

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Take the chicken out of the fridge so that it isn't too cold by the time you get frying. If you are using filleted chicken breasts, rather than escalopes, then proceed as described above.
  2. Get out a shallow dish that, preferably, you can get both escalopes in, and spoon in the mustard and the garlic. Add the cinnamon and egg and whisk to combine. Put the escalopes in, turn them, and leave to sit in the mixture while you prepare the "crumbs."
  3. Put the cornflakes into a bowl and crush them by hand. This, sadly, is not as brutal as it sounds: merely break them up with your fingers to get coarsely crushed flakes, but not dust. Add the pimentón or paprika and use a fork to mix in.
  4. Dredge the egg-and-mustard-soaked escalopes, one by one, in the cornflake crumbs, so that they are well covered, and then transfer to a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes so they can dry out.
  5. Heat the oil in a cast-iron pan or heavy-based frying pan in which the chicken pieces will fit neatly and, when hot, fry for 3 minutes on the first side, then turn them over carefully and give them another 3 minutes, by which time the chicken should be cooked through in the middle, though do check. Remove to waiting plates, already strewn with tomatoes and arugula or salad leaves of your choice. Serve with lemon wedges.

Cook’s Note

Coat escalopes, then put on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, and freeze. Once solid, transfer to a resealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Cook directly from frozen, adding 1 to 2 minutes to the cooking time, and ensure cutlets are cooked through before serving.

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