Chicken is an extremely versatile meat to cook with, which is why I always keep a package of frozen chicken cutlets in freezer. One of the simplest and most popular ways to serve chicken is fried in olive oil with bread crumbs. While this dish is very yummy, it lacks the little bit of crunch I prefer to have when eating chicken.
Japanese Panko Breadcrumbs are much thicker and crunchier than regular Progresso crumbs. Usually used to make Tempura, panko crumbs add texture to a fried dish without needing a lot of crumbs. Also you can flash fry dishes with tempura and then simply bake them to finish cooking. This makes them very fun to cook with.
Sometimes I try cooking fish, pork and veggies in the panko (adds a wonderful texture), but most of all I love making Panko Chicken. There are many ways to serve the chicken panko style, including: mustard, parmigiano-reggiano, mozzarella, and herbed. Sometimes I even combine all of those flavors to make a super-flavorful chicken dish. Try it with your favorite cheeses and ingredients!
1 package chicken cutlets, sliced thin (usually about 1/2 lb)
1 package Panko Bread Crumbs
1 egg scrambled
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
-These are all optional, however I recommend using any combination-
1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh grated mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. thyme
1 tbsp. basil
2 1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard
First, place the thinly sliced chicken cutlets into a bowl with salted water. Wash off the chicken in the water, and remove any unwanted pieces. Then, dry the chicken and place on paper towel. Set up a row on your counter like an assembly line with the chicken first, then one bowl, and then two large plates.
In the bowl, scramble the egg. Then, on the first plate mix the panko crumbs and your other spices and ingredients. If you are using mustard then do not mix with the crumbs, wait till further instruction.
After your assembly line is prepared, place a few pieces of chicken at a time in the egg to soak. Then, take one piece at a time and cover liberally with the panko crumb, cheese and herb mixture. Finally, place finished pieces onto the last plate.
***If using mustard, then rub the mustard over the chicken, after the egg and before the panko crumbs.
While making your assembly line, place two medium to large pans on medium-high heat. After all of the chicken is ready to be fried, place about 1-2 tbsp. canola oil in each pan. Make sure to use canola oil, and not coconut or olive oil, because the oil with spatter and burn-off. When the oil and pans are heated, place chicken into both pans and don’t be afraid to try and pack them in closely. Also, make sure there is enough moisture on the pan or else they will burn (you may have to add more oil as you cook).
After about 1 mintute, turn the heat down to medium, and check any pieces that need to be turned. I usually wait for the chicken to turn golden brown with hints of dark brown before turning. For the next 3-5 mintues continue turning and pressing each piece so that they all cook evenly throughout. Chicken should be done when it is no longer spongy to the touch, also if you are unsure just cut the chicken open and make sure it is no longer pink in the middle.
In the last minute of cooking, sprinkle some extra cheese on top of each piece and turn over to make a crispy crust. Promptly remove from heat (about 10-15 seconds) so the cheese does not burn, and serve immediately.
***For a lighter option, simply fry the chicken for one minute on each side so it turns a golden brown, and then bake for 10 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees.
-Side Dish Options-
My two favorite side-dishes for Panko Chicken are steamed broccoli, and baked asparagus.
For the broccoli, simply trim the broccoli head down to the stems and rinse in water. Then place pieces in a bowl with about 3 tbsp. water and steam in microwave covered with plastic wrap for 3-5 minutes.
For the asparagus, clean and trim the asparagus by cutting off the ends (about until there is no white left) and place in a baking pan covered with salt, pepper and olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees, turning occassionally. *** If you are feeling especially bad, try covering asparagus with grated parmigiano cheese before baking it.