Basic breaded chicken breasts are a building-block recipe, one of those preparations that every cook should have in his or her repertoire. They're quick yet tasty, made with just a few ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen, and they go with just about any type of side dish. They also offer a breadth of dinner possibilities: Topped with tomato sauce and served with spaghetti, they become chicken Parmesan. Between two pieces of bread, along with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, they make chicken cutlet sandwiches. Served with steamed short-grain rice and tonkatsu sauce, they're Japanese-style chicken cutlets.
This recipe for chicken cutlets includes Parmesan cheese in the bread crumbs, which adds an extra layer of savoriness to the breading—this Italian angle lends the dish the name "Chicken Milanese." The breaded cutlets are shallow-fried in a large skillet with just enough vegetable oil to submerge the cutlets about halfway, they're arranged in a single layer in the skillet and cooked in two batches, they're turned with tongs, and, finally, they're drained on paper towels to remove excess oil after frying.
Once you master this technique, you can vary the flavorings in a number of different ways: Omit the Parmesan, if you like, and add any number of ingredients to the egg mixture—minced fresh herbs, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce are all worthy additions.
Total Cooking Time: 45
Preparation Time: 15
Active Cooking Time: 30
Make Ahead: Serve immediately
Yield: 4 servings