I’m not sure what there is to not love about chicken Milanese. A thinly pressed out piece of chicken breast, breaded and pan-fried, topped with a crisp bunch of salad greens, ripe tomatoes, and basil. It’s like eating fried chicken, but you get to feel healthy about it since it’s garnished with salad. What could possibly make this better?
Pickled vegetables can, that’s what! Inspired after seeing a show in which Chef Anne Burrell tops her chicken Milanese with red wine vinegar pickled onions, I wanted to try out this way of adding more acid to pair with the salty, crunchy bite of the chicken. With a yellow bell pepper and white onion on hand, I pickled thin slices of those vegetables in a mix of white wine vinegar to brighten their colors, a bit of sugar, and some fennel seed to add some subtle anise flavor. I then put a small pile of my pickled vegetables on a bed of arugula that had been simply dressed with lemon juice and olive oil which sat on top of crispy chicken. To finish things off, I added shards of Parmigiano Reggiano to give some nutty notes. And there you have it– chicken Milanese with a tangy, peppery crunch that is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
- 1 small white onion, sliced into thin half-moon slivers
- 1 medium yellow pepper, trimmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup flour
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups baby arugula leaves
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
Dissolve sugar and salt in white wine vinegar in a medium bowl. Stir in fennel seeds. Add the onions and peppers and toss to coat. Cover with water and let sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. Set up ingredients as follows: on one plate, add flour and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; next to that, place a shallow bowl that has the beaten eggs; next to that, set a plate on which you’ve mixed together the panko and grated parmesan. Lightly season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides, then dip the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the floured chicken in the beaten egg, letting excess egg drip off, then coat both pieces in the panko-cheese mix. Place the chicken in the heated olive oil and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.
While chicken cooks, beat together the lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss the arugula in the lemon dressing. Plate chicken and top with arugula, pickled peppers and onions, and shards of parmesan made with a vegetable peeler.