Learning a basic technique often opens the door to multiple variations. Case in point: cold salad can happily top a hot protein and create a complete meal. Toss that salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette, and you have the start of something really good.
Let’s face it, most nights don’t find you slavishly following a recipe. If you’re like me, you think about what you have on hand, and end up making something tried and true that you’ve made multiple times before.
Salad on chicken cutlets is an almost weekly dinner around here. I got the idea from a Barefoot Contessa show that I watched ages ago where Ina Garten made a dish called Parmesan Chicken. I’m sure there’s a recipe on line if you want specific measurements. It’s basically fried chicken cutlets coated with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese, topped with a leafy green salad. My version is a spinoff of the original.
For the chicken:
- Pound chicken tenders between sheets of plastic wrap to create even cutlets. Make more than you need. They make great sandwiches.
- Dredge the cutlets in seasoned flour, then egg wash, then Italian flavored breadcrumbs ( with or without some grated Parmesan cheese.)
- Pan fry the cutlets in a combination of olive oil and butter.
- Keep them warm in a 200 degree oven.
For the salad:
- I like romaine lettuce because it stays crisp even when coated with dressing, but any lettuce works. Add some thinly sliced red or sweet onion and some celery if you like.
- Make a simple lemon vinaigrette. Whisk together 1/4 C of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 C ( or a little more) olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper. This is about as basic a vinaigrette as you’ll find, but it works here.
- Toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette.Top a couple of cutlets with salad and dinner is served!
Taking this technique a step or two beyond chicken, I’ve topped crab cakes and grilled salmon with lemony salad and been equally happy with the results.