I have a cache of "go-to" recipes in my arsenal. Meals I have been making for years, the ingredients for which I nearly always have on hand, and which are fairly easy to and quick to make.
One of these recipes is chicken schnitzel.
Schitzel is a German word usually referring to a thin cutlet of veal that is seasoned, dipped in batter and fried. This is actually a somewhat lighter version of that, using chicken since we don't eat veal.
This is a recipe I brought with me from my mom when Adam and I moved in together. After I got over my initial (3 month long) "I don't know how to cook and I burn everything because I cook it on high) phase, this was something I could make confidently and now six years later it is still in the mix.
I usually just make a small portion for Adam and I but it's super easy to modify it to feed a crowd. I like to serve it with asparagus and rice but it's also equally good over a salad dressed with a light, lemony vinaigrette. It is also DIVINE the next day in a sandwich with whole wheat bread and spicy brown mustard.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup seasoned panko (Japanese bread crumbs, or use regular ones if that's what you prefer. I just like how crispy the panko is!)
1/2 cup egg whites
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup flour.
Salt and Pepper
First you want to slice your chicken breasts lengthwise so you have four rather thin fillets. Then pound them out even more so they are 1/4 an inch thick or a little less.
Next you want to assemble your breading station. So set up one shallow bowl with the flour, one with the egg white and one with the breadcrumbs. The most important part of any breading endeavor is to season everything! You want flavor in every layer of the dish, so sprinkle salt and pepper into the flour, and egg white (and even the bread crumbs, especially if they are unseasoned) and mix thoroughly.
You will also want to salt and pepper each side of your chicken filets. Once you do that, go down your assembly line. First dipping in the flour, then the egg, then pressing into the panko until well coated on both sides. Repeat with remaining chicken filets.
At this point - I like to chill the chicken for at least fifteen minutes in the fridge. This step is optional but I think it really helps the breadcrumb crust adhere to the meat.
Heat a large shallow pan over medium heat. Add your olive oil and let warm up for a few minutes. Then add your chicken - cooking about 2-3 minutes a side (so it's slightly brown on the outside)
Plate and spritz with a little lemon juice before serving.