Pound anything thin, coat it in bread crumbs and then pan fry it, and it’s sure to be pretty good. This chicken milanesa is better than good. Mustard, garlic, herbs and lemon zest are mixed in with the egg wash to really transform the flavor of the chicken. Instead of a being a one note dish—that one note being the glorious taste of fried food—this dish has nice depth. And as a bonus, that added depth doesn’t make it any more difficult to prepare.
Mustard Chicken Milanesa, adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
2 – 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you could also use chicken breast, but we’re thigh people)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons smooth dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 lemon, zested
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying (we use safflower)
With a sharp knife, trim any dangling bits off the chicken thighs. The chicken thighs I used had little chicken bits hanging off which I cut off, seasoned and also battered and fried turning them into real life chicken nuggets. If you’re using chicken breasts, butterfly your chicken breasts and slice them all the way through so you have two thin slices per breast.
With a meat pounder or a rolling pin, pound the chicken in between two pieces of plastic wrap. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the flour on one plate and the bread crumbs on another. In a small bowl, mix the egg, mustard, garlic, herbs and lemon zest. Dredge each piece of chicken lightly in flour, then heavily in the egg mixture, then generously in the bread crumbs. Place them on the baking sheet in a single layer and cover them in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for an hour or up to a day. The refrigeration prevents the coating from coming off when you fry it and it totally works. I thank Deb for this incredibly helpful and effective tip.
Preheat your oven to warm. Pour 1/2″ of oil in a fry pan. Heat it over medium high heat. Cook the chicken, about 3 – 4 minutes on the first side and 2 – 3 minutes on the second side. The little chicken nuggets will cook even faster – about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and let drain briefly on paper towels. Place in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining chicken. Serve warm with lemon wedges, plus something green for good measure.