Good lord, do I love fried.

Fried meats, fried ice cream, fried veg. If it’s fried, chances are I’m going to love it. The following is absolutely no exception. Behold, my easy-peasy, I’ve got a freezer full of chicken breasts and not much else weeknight dinner: Chicken Milanese and Escarole Salad w/ Pickled Onions!

This dinner is ridiculously easy, and even more ridiculously delicious. Started out with two skinless, boneless chicken boobs, seasoning them generously with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Then I quickly prepped the pickled onions by combining a 1/2 cup vinegar (half red wine, half white), 1/2 cup cold water, 2 tbsp sea salt, 1 tbsp white sugar and a few good shakes of hot sauce (I used Crystal because I’m brown and my mom sent me a hot-sauce care package earlier this year that contained 4 bottles of said magical hot sauce) in a Tupperware. Then I thinly sliced up half a red onion and threw that into the container with the pickling liquid. And into the fridge it went until serving time.

Note: These get pretty pickly, pretty quickly so don’t leave them in the liquid for hours and hours – I’d recommend 2-3 hours tops and then eat them! The recipe I followed suggested that they are terrific when pickled overnight, but I thought they were a little too strong – and mama LOVES pickles. So pickle at your own risk. 🙂

While the onions pickled in the fridge, I set to breading my chicken. Set up a regular breading assembly line; three receptacles each containing either 1 cup white flour, 2 eggs beaten with 1 tbsp water or 1.5 cups panko mixed with 1/2 cup of parm.

Then I just dredged my chicken, first in the flour, then the egg, then the panko mixture and popped them into the fridge (lightly covered) for about an hour…

After they’ve had a chance to set and marinate in the fridge, pour enough oil into a deep skillet to fill it about half an inch’s worth. Bring the oil to frying temp over medium-high heat, checking its readiness with the old flick-a-few-drops-of-water-into-the-pan-and-hope-you-don’t-get-scalded trick.

Note: My recipe says to use olive oil and I have to respectfully disagree. While olive oil is one of the most delicious of all oils, I don’t think it’s especially appropriate for frying. It’s spendy, and subtle, and generally doesn’t hold up well in higher heats. So don’t feel bad if you want to skip the gourmet and go plebeian on your oil choice this time!

Then cook the chicken in batches until they’re golden brown and crispy on both sides (about 4-5 minutes per side).

When those bad boys are done, remove them from the oil and allow to drain on paper towels. You can keep them warm in a low oven for a few minutes if you want, but keep it low! You don’t want them to cook too much further or they’ll be dry and terrible.

Now you can whip up this magnificent escarole salad… Combine 1/2 parm, 1/2 cup toasted & chopped almonds, 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley in a bowl. Mix it up.

Wash, dry and rip up a head of escarole into bite-size pieces…

Toss the escarole into the bowl along with the parm and nuts and parsley. Add a few of those magical pickled onions and mix it all up!

Serve it up and rejoice! Woot… Chicken Milanese and Escarole Salad w/ Pickled Onions!


Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4

For the Pickled Onions:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (I swapped half with regular vinegar; I was being stingy with my fancy red wine stuff)
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 to 3 really good shots hot sauce
1 red onion, sliced into very thin rings

For the Chicken Milanese:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated pamesan
4 small organic chicken breasts, butterflied and lightly pounded/flattened (not tenderized; a good organic chicken breast will already be tender) to 1/4-inch thick
Kosher salt and pepper
Oil, for frying

For the Escarole Salad:
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano (I used parmesan)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts (I used almonds)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 head escarole, washed, spun dry, cut into bite size pieces
High-quality extra-virgin olive oil