Crispy breaded chicken cutlets seasoned with fresh parsley and Pecorino Romano.
Chicken cutlets are simply thinly sliced chicken breasts that are pounded even thinner, coated in breadcrumbs, and then pan-fried. An absolute staple in Italian households, mine included. The recipe for chicken cutlets differs from household to household but for the most part, they are usually very similar to one another.
Chicken cutlets are held very near and dear to my heart. It’s one of those recipes that reminds me of home and my family. Both my grandmothers have had chicken cutlets on the table for every holiday or family event. There wasn’t a week that went by growing up that I didn’t sit down to a chicken cutlet at least once. It’s a very special food for me.
Most people will tell you that you need to season your own breadcrumbs but for me personally, I really enjoy the 4C brand of seasoned breadcrumbs. It’s what I remember my mom always using and for the most part, I don’t mess too much with recipes that I enjoy.
Although the breadcrumbs are already seasoned, I do add just a couple of ingredients that really make these chicken cutlets stand out. That being fresh minced parsley and Pecorino Romano.
Pecorino Romano is a salty dry cheese made from sheep’s milk and although it looks a lot like Parmigiano Reggiano (an Italian cheese made from cow’s milk), it has a more robust flavor and a much stronger smell.
My mom introduced me to this cheese when I was still living at home and I haven’t bought any other grated cheese since. Could you use Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan instead? Sure. It just won’t taste the same!
I recommend serving these chicken cutlets with plenty of lemon wedges. There is nothing better than a fresh squeeze of lemon on top of a hot crispy cutlet. If you need some ideas for what to serve with them, I’d suggest some chunky marinara for dipping, a side salad with a balsamic dressing, and some sparkling lemon water. That sounds like the perfect meal for me. 🙂
Italian Chicken Cutlets
- large skillet
- metal cooking tongs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano (you can sub in Parmesan)
- ¼ cup minced parsley
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs total)
- vegetable oil (about ¼ to ½ cup, depending on the size of your skillet)
- olive oil (optional)
- fresh lemon wedges for serving
- Set out 3 shallow bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour and season with the salt and pepper. In the second, add the eggs and whisk well. In the third, add the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, and minced parsley.
- Slice the chicken breasts in half, lengthwise. Lay them out on your cutting board, lay a piece of plastic wrap over top of them, and using a meat mallet, pound them until they are 1/4 inch thick all througout.
- Dredge each cutlet first into the flour, then the egg mixture, and then finally into the breadcrumbs. Make sure each side of the cutlets are coated well and set them aside once done.
- In a large skillet, add enough oil until about 1/4 inch deep. Optionally drizzle in about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil for flavor.
- Set the heat to just above medium. You can tell when it's hot enough when a pinch of breadcrumbs bubbles when sprinkled into the hot oil.
- Get a clean plate lined with paper towel ready to place your cooked cutlets on.
- Lay your cutlets into the hot oil, away from you. You will need to do this in batches. Fry each side for about 2-3 minutes each. The cutlets are done when both sides are golden brown and crispy and the internal temperature reads 165°F.
- Use tongs that have a good grip to remove the cutlets from the pan and lay them on the paper towel-lined plate. Silicone tongs get slippery and are not recommended. Metal tongs are much safer.
- Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges.