Monday, January 18, 2010

Spicy "Fried" Chicken Cutlets with Honey-Tabasco Sauce

Back in November Alex and I went to WD-50 for the first time.  Everything was very interesting and very good, but one of our favorite things was the Cold Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Ricotta, Tabasco and Caviar.  The Tabasco was in a pool of buttery sauce served next to the chicken (which incidentally was cooked sous-vide then topped with crispy breadcrumbs and not actually fried).  I can't remember how the server described the sauce, or exactly how it tasted, but I remember it being both tangy and hot from the Tabasco, and sweet from the honey.  It was divine.  Before then when I made my "Fried" Chicken Cutlets I would serve them with a tangy honey mustard sauce, but this Tabasco and honey sauce just blew any form of honey mustard sauce out of the water.  

So a month after we went to WD-50 I decided to try to recreate the sauce to go with a new variation on my chicken cutlets.  I marinated the chicken in buttermilk, grated garlic, a touch of dijon mustard, and a healthy dose of Tabasco.  Then I breaded it and baked it in the oven on top of a cooling rack.  I have to credit for the idea to bake the chicken like that to The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.  Such a great idea!  The bread crumbs stayed nice and crispy, without getting all soggy on the bottom if you baked it, or falling off when you tried to flip it while sauteing.  And I served the chicken drizzled with my new favorite honey Tabasco sauce.  Delicious.  I serve this chicken with a simple arugula salad tossed with a light lemony vinaigrette, but I think it would be fabulous served with just about anything.

Recipes after the jump!
Spicy "Fried" Chicken Cutlets

4 thin-cut chicken breasts/cutlets
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp Tabasco
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus additional
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup lightly crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

Mix buttermilk, Tabasco, mustard, garlic, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1 tsp kosher salt in a large baking dish.  Add chicken cutlets.  Turn to coat.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours (turning chicken cutlets over halfway through).  Remove chicken breasts from marinade and either drain on cooling rack or pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Create a breading station using shallow pans or bowls.  The first shallow pan should have the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, s&p.  Stir to combine.  The second shallow pan should have the lightly beaten egg, mixed with 1 tsp of cold water.  The last shallow pan should have the panko breadcrumbs, cornflakes, and Parm-Reg.  Dip each chicken cutlet into the flour mixture, then the egg, and then the panko breadcrumb mixture.  Be sure to shake off excess flour and egg before proceeding onto the next step.  Coat both sides of the chicken cutlets in panko breadcrumbs, patting to make sure panko adheres if necessary.  Place cooling rack over a rimmed cookie sheet.  Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Place chicken cutlets on cooling rack.  Make sure that chicken cutlets aren't touching each other to allow even air circulation and even crisping.  Spray top side of chicken cutlets lightly with cooking spray.

Bake chicken until cooked through and the breadcrumbs are nice and golden, about 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then serve drizzled with Honey-Tabasco sauce.

Honey-Tabasco Dipping Sauce

1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Tabasco
kosher salt

Melt butter in a small saute pan or sauce pan on medium-low heat.  Add honey, Tabasco and salt.  Allow to reduce slightly, stirring regularly.  Taste sauce and adjust ingredients as necessary to suit your tastes.

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