Friday, May 23, 2014

Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel and Raw Asparagus Caesar Salad

Chicken schnitzel doesn't exactly sound sexy (if I had to pick a sexy-sounding schnitzel it would be duck schnitzel like the one they serve at The Marrow).  And it doesn't look sexy.  But I feel like I keep running across recipes for it lately and honestly, schnitzel can be really tasty (provided it's not dried out and flavorless, which can be a serious problem with chicken breasts and/or pork).  Alex and I have long been fans of breading and cooking chicken.  Generally we bread the chicken with some panko and/or cornflakes and throw it in the oven because it's easy and the breading tends to fall off on us when we try to cook it in a pan.  But this recipe worked out beautifully - the panko was beautifully golden brown and crispy and the chicken was cooked through without being dry.  And none of the breading fell off!  Plus when you added the piccata sauce it makes everything that much more delicious.  Who doesn't love browned butter with capers and lemon juice?   I think chicken schnitzel always needs a sauce because the breading often isn't seasoned and even though the chicken breasts here weren't all dried out and overcooked, it's still boneless, skinless chicken breast with breading.  By definition the combination is a little dry.  This piccata sauce works nicely, but a spicy sriracha mayo (or a simple squirt of lemon juice) works too. 

As for the asparagus salad, I love asparagus salads.  And this one worked nicely with the chicken schnitzel because it is crisp, bright and acidic.  It cuts through the slight richness of the chicken nicely.  This isn't my favorite raw asparagus salad that we have ever made, but it was really nice and fresh, but the dressing gives it a little creamyness and umami.  I would make it again.

Recipes after the jump!

Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel
Adapted from Food & Wine

1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each), butterflied and pounded 1/4-inch-thick (we used pre-pounded, thin sliced chicken breast from the grocery) 
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 tbsp evoo
2 teaspoons capers
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Set the flour, eggs and panko in three separate shallow bowls. Season the chicken cutlets with s&p. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in the eggs, again shaking off any excess, and coat thoroughly with the panko, pressing lightly to adhere.

In each of 2 large skillets, heat 1/4 cup of canola oil. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook over moderately high heat until browned and nutty, about 4 minutes. Add evoo and stir in the capers, lemon juice and parsley.  Spoon over the chicken and serve immediately.

Raw Asparagus Caesar Salad
Available at Serious Eats

2 bunches (or about 2 pounds) pencil-thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 1 anchovy filet)
6 tablespoons evoo
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (we used a little less Parm-Reg than called for, maybe 1/3 cup)

Combine mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovy paste in a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, toss the asparagus with the dressing. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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