Value-added Chicken Milanese, from chef Anne Burrell

 The third recipe gleaned by Senior Editor Chris Christensen after last month’s Zov’s event with Food Network star chefs, is from Anne Burrell, a familiar sight sous-cheffing for Mario Batali on “Iron Chef America,” who now hosts a couple of Food Network shows of her own. (Zucchini fritters with gravlax from Zov’s new book was the recipe featured in the event report; next in ToOC was ricotta gnocchi from Iron Chef Michael Symon—DEF worth a stop at the store.)

I’ve mentioned my penchant for landing crispy things on top of salad. The same goes for landing the salad on top of the crispy item instead—I LOVE that little bit, sometimes more than a little bit, of wiltage that occurs when the hot meets the crisp. I’m always going for that flavor and texture development. Turns out Anne Burrell has that sort of thing in mind, too, in this very good recipe. Escarole, a vastly underutilized green with a deliciously bitter edge, makes a tremendously wonderful salad. That bitter edge is calmed right down by the slightest application of heat, from either the aforementioned above or below, and escarole’s sturdy nature maintains a ton of structural integrity, too. Burrell’s use of Pecorino Romano and a little of the pickling liquid from the onions verges on, if not genius, then at least really really good.

Anne Burrell’s Chicken Milanese with Escarole Salad and Pickled Red Onions

(Makes 4 servings)

For onions:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup cold water

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 to 3 really good shots hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)

1 red onion, sliced into very thin rings

For chicken:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

4 small organic chicken breasts, butterflied and lightly pounded to 1/4-inch thick

Kosher salt

Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

1 tablespoon butter

For salad:

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

1 head escarole, washed, spun dry, cut into bite size pieces

High-quality extra-virgin olive oil

To pickle onions:

In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar with 1/2 cup of cold tap water. Stir in salt, sugar, and hot sauce. Add sliced onions and let sit for at least one hour.

To cook chicken:

Set up a standard breading procedure in 3 wide deep plates. Fill one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with panko and grated Parmigiano. Season chicken breasts with salt.

Using one hand for dry things and one hand for wet, take each piece of chicken through breading procedure: dredge lightly in flour, then through egg wash, then through bread crumbs. Lay breaded chicken on a sheet tray and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Pour olive oil into a large sauté pan until it reaches a depth of about a half an inch—better a little more rather than a little less. Bring to medium-high heat and add butter. Test oil by flicking flour or bread crumbs into the oil. If it doesn’t sizzle, WAIT! When oil is hot, test it again by dipping in the edge of a piece of chicken, oil should gently sizzle. In batches, cook chicken on both sides in oil until it is a lovely golden brown color and is crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Do not crowd pan or chicken will become very greasy and soggy.

When chicken comes out of oil lay it on paper towels to drain, and sprinkle with salt. Chicken can be held in a low oven to keep warm while the rest is cooking.

To prepare salad:

Combine Pecorino, hazelnuts and parsley in the food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped.

Toss together the escarole, hazelnut mixture and some of the pickled red onions and dress with some of the pickling liquid and olive oil. Season with salt.

To assemble dish:

Place chicken on each serving plate and top with escarole salad.

(Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell.)

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