Showing posts with label Rapini. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rapini. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

4 Tips for Making Italian Breaded Chicken Cutlets from Cleo Coyle

Photos by Alice Alfonsi, who writes as Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle, who likes to 
pound keyboards as well as 
cutlets, is author of The 
The skinless, boneless chicken cutlet is one of the most user-friendly ingredients for whipping up a quick, tasty meal. Slap it on a crusty roll and you've got the perfect hot sandwich. Add mashed potatoes and gravy, and you have the easiest fried chicken dinner imaginable. Grate mozzarella and Parmesan over the top, add a splash of red sauce, a glass of wine, and you'll be singing Rossini.

No matter how you choose to finish these babies, you'll want to start things off right, and today I'm happy to share my tips for making the perfect, golden chicken cutlet, the kind that delights with a crunch of breading on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness on the inside...

Tip 1 - Give the bird a whack: It’s not enough to start with fresh, thin sliced chicken breast fillets, you need to give each breast a blow (or three) with the business end of a meat hammer for the kind of tender cutlet that you can cut with a spoon. 

Tip 2 - Spice up your breading: Some cooks use panko and that’s a nice way to go. But I prefer the traditional flour, egg, bread crumb coating with a twist. Start with your favorite brand of Italian seasoned bread crumbs and boost that  flavor with additional ingredients. I add grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and dried herbs (see recipe). Optional red pepper flakes nicely spice things up for those days when I want a little heat with my meat.

Tip 3 - Oil temperature is key: If you start with oil that's too cold, your chicken will absorb too much grease and the breading may be soggy. If your oil is too hot, your chicken will burn on the outside and be raw in the center. Wait for the oil to ripple and then test it carefully by adding a few drops of water into the pan. If the water "dances" on the oil, it's ready. See the recipe below for more tips on frying.

Tip 4 - Finish with freshness: Nothing tops off a perfectly sautéed chicken cutlet like fresh squeezed lemon juice. It's also a delicious finisher for side dish vegetables like dorati e fritti zucchini (for my recipe, click here) or broccoli rabe (for my recipe, click here).

Broccoli Rabe 

Click the photo for a
free PDF of the recipe ->

(aka "dorati e fritti")

Click the photo for a free PDF of the recipe ->


Cleo Coyle’s 
Chicken Cutlets


1 ½ - 2 pounds boneless breast fillets, sliced thin (about 9 cutlets)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, beaten + 1 teaspoon water or milk

2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried parsley (if you like rosemary add, as well)

1 Tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese

Dash of garlic powder or red pepper flakes (optional)

olive oil or vegetable oil (at least 1/4 cup, see directions for more info)

1 lemon sliced thin


Step 1 - Prep the fillets: Rinse fillets in cold water. One at a time, place the fillets on a clean, flat surface. Using the tenderizing (spiky) end of a meat hammer, whack the breast a few times to flatten it even more, then flip it and repeat. Dredge each breast well in all-purpose flour and set aside on a plate.

Step 2 - Prep the breading: Pour the Italian seasoned bread crumbs into a shallow bowl, pie plate, or cake pan, and boost the flavor by adding the oregano, dried parsley, grated cheese, and (optional) rosemary, garlic powder, and/or red pepper flakes. Whisk until blended.

Step 3 - Coat the chicken: Crack the eggs into another shallow bowl or pie pan and whisk to blend, adding a teaspoon of water or milk to thin the mixture a bit. Now dredge each flour-coated breast into the beaten egg mixture, coating both sides of the chicken fillet. Allow excess to drip off and transfer to the seasoned breading. Coat both sides of each fillet completely with the breading. Allow excess breading to fall away. Keep the breaded fillets in a single layer. (I use flat plates or a sheet pan.)

Step 4 - Cook and finish: Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in oil until it reaches the depth of about 1/2 inch. When the oil is rippling and a drop of water dances on it, you're ready to cook. Don't crowd the pan. The more fillets you place into the oil, the more you are reducing the oil's temperature and risking a greasy, soggy end.

Once the chicken hits the oil, saute two to three minutes. This is (admittedly) a tricky endeavor. You may need to decrease the heat a bit if the chicken is cooking too quickly or increase it if the oil's temp. is dropping too fast. 

When the chicken is golden brown, flip it. Cook on the other side for another two to three minutes. Hold finished cutlets in warm (200 degree F.) oven while you cook additional batches. If you're cooking multiple batches, the oil will need to be replaced. When it becomes brown or full of crumbs, pour it out, wipe the pan and start with new oil.

Just before serving (and not too early or the chicken will become soggy) squeeze on some fresh lemon juice, and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

* * * 

Just Released: The NEW
Coffeehouse Mystery...

Join amateur sleuth Clare Cosi as she
sets out to caffeinate our nation's capital
and solve a capital crime.
It can get a girl killed...

To buy now click links for...

This culinary mystery
includes more than 25

 delicious new recipes! 

Download the free
Recipe Guide by...

* * *

The bestselling Penguin hardcover 
is now a bestseller in paperback!

Once Upon a Grind 
by Cleo Coyle

To learn more, 

A Best of the Year Pick ~ Kings River Life 
"Fresh and fun...clever" ~ Booklist
A Mystery Guild Selection 

Join coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi as she solves the crime against "Sleeping Beauty," opens secret doors (uptown and down), and investigates a cold case that's been unsolved since the Cold War.


Wonderful recipes are also featured
in Cleo's 14th culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind including...

* Dairy-Free "Cinderella" Pumpkin Cake
* Dairy-Free Almond Milk Custard
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaway Cookies 
* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Poor Man's Caviar
* Snow White Chocolate Mocha

...and many more recipes, including 
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See Once Upon a Grind's 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

* * *

*Starred Review 
~ Kirkus

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

"Top Pick"  -RT Book Reviews
"...a highly satisfying mystery."
-Publishers Weekly

See Billionaire Blend's
Recipe Guide

* * * * * * 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Book #1 of
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries,
which Cleo write 
under the name
Alice Kimberly

Haunted Bookshop 

Get a free title checklist, with 
mini plot summaries, by clicking here.

Or learn more about the books
and meet Jack Shepard,
our PI ghost by clicking here.

* * * * * *

Subscribe to Cleo's Coffeehouse Newsletter and you are entered in her weekly drawings for a free pound of coffee....

Friday, April 30, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Mystery Vegetable

For many people, the produce section of their grocery store is a guessing game.

Well, the next time you spy this veggie among the many greens on sale, here are some clues to help you solve the mystery of what it is and how to prepare it...

Clue #1 - Although not yet very common to U.S. kitchens, this baby is very popular in Italian cuisine.

Clue #2 - This veggie belongs to a family whose seeds are used to make canola oil.

Clue #3 - In Chinese cuisine, a close cousin of this vegetable is often stir-fried with ginger and garlic or steamed and served with oyster sauce. In Italian kitchens, my recipe (below) is probably the most common way that it's prepared...

Clue #4 - Known by many names, this veggie shares one name with the famous producer of these movies...

So...what is the vegetable?

If you guessed "James Bond," you would be wrong...


If you guessed "Broccoli Rabe," you would be correct!

(BTW -- My clips of Sean Connery aren't completely gratuitous. The late Albert "Cubby" Broccoli was the producer of all the James Bond films through GoldenEye. :-)

Some say Broccoli Rabe is an acquired taste. Maybe it is...or maybe, If you've had it before and disliked it, the preparation might be to blame. Not every cook knows the tricks to getting the best flavor out of this veggie, which can be on the bitter side.

Because of its pungent edge, Broccoli Rabe is a great gastronomic complement for starchy, sweet, and cheesy main dishes like...spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, mac 'n' cheese, casseroles, and pizzas. It's also a great source of vitamins A, C, K, and potassium.

If made fresh and blanched & shocked, Broccoli Rabe displays a nutty and sweet complexity along with its (admittedly) slightly bitter and pungent edge. Basically, if you've made kale or collard greens, then we're on the same veggie page.

Pictured below is one of my favorite vegetarian lunches:
Sesame seed-crusted Italian bread with melted cheese
and a generous portion of my Broccoli Rabe.

Cleo Coyle's
Broccoli Rabe

For a printable (PDF) version of this recipe, click here.

Makes 4 servings


1 bunch Broccoli Rabe (about 1 pound)
2-1/2 quarts water
1 teaspoon sea salt
24 whole cloves of garlic, peeled (about 1 and 1/2 heads)
4 tablespoons olive oil

Optional finishers:
Lemon slices
Pecorino Romano cheese (grated)
freshly ground black pepper


Step 1 - Select your Broccoli Rabe: Broccoli Rabe has thick stalks like kale or collard greens and leafy green tops with tiny broccoli-like florets among its leaves. (My grocer sells it in 1 pound bunches.) Buy it as fresh as possible. Leaves should be bright green and not yellowing, wilted, or flowering. When you shop for it, note that this glorious green rose might be found by many other names: Broccoli Raab, Brocoletti di Rape, Rapini, Rappi, Rape, Broccoletti, or Cima di Rapa; and (for a Chinese version of it, look for...) Kai-lan, Gai Lan, Chinese broccoli, or Chinese kale.

Step 2 - Cut off ends: Like asparagus, you want to slice off the tough ends of the Broccoli Rabe stalks and toss them. To get the stems even more tender, I sometimes peel them, as well. (The stem is the most bitter part of the vegetable, and you can trim it even more to control this flavor aspect.)

Optional: Although some cooks like to roughly chop the Broccoli Rabe at this point (into 1-inch pieces), I prefer to cook and serve mine whole.

Step 3 - Blanch and shock: Yes, it sounds like a pair of James Bond villains, but in fact this is the step to remove much of the bitter bite. First bring a pot of water to the boil (at least 2-1/2 quarts), next toss in 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Now smash 4 of your whole, peeled garlic cloves and throw them into the boiling, salted water. Finally, add your Broccoli Rabe. Simmer for 5 full minutes. Using a colander, strain the Broccoli Rabe and shock it by running very cold tap water over it until the vegetable is no longer warm. Now drain all water and pat dry.

Step 4 - Heat oil and garlic: Place 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a large sauté pan and warm over medium-high heat. Add your remaining 20 cloves of whole, peeled garlic (do not slice or smash). (See optional flavor ideas below.*) Sauté the garlic for about 3 minutes or until you are able to smell the aroma of the garlic cooking and see the skin begin to appear translucent. (Note: you do not want the garlic to brown.)

*Optional flavor ideas: In Step 4, when you throw in the whole garlic, try adding red pepper flakes for a spicy note of heat. Or add a few anchovies for an umami flavor.

Step 5 - Sauté the Broccoli Rabe: Add your Broccoli Rabe to the pan. You should hear a slight sizzling (if you do not, turn up the heat a bit). Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring continually to coat the vegetable with the garlic oil. When is it done? Test by biting. The stalks should be cooked al dente (slightly crunchy as you bite down but giving easily as you bite). Continue cooking until texture is to your liking.

Step 6 - Serve: To finish, salt to taste. Or try a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of freshly grated Pecorino Romano, and a bit of ground black pepper. Now you're ready to...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.