Sicilian Style Breaded Chicken Cutlets: Cutuletti di Gaddina

Cutlet

To be honest with you, I could give a dissertation on the uses of breadcrumbs in Sicilian cuisine. Throwing leftover bread away was considered a sin, and frugal housewives cleverly used bread crumbs to stretch out meat dishes. These delicious seasoned bread crumbs are used to coat almost anything conceivably edible, from fish to asparagus. I’m not joking – they can make shoe soles taste great. This seasoned bread crumb recipe is also the basis for chicken, veal, or eggplant parmesan. In Italy, cutlets are usually made using veal but chicken is more popular in the United States. You can use either one in this recipe.

Sicilian Style Breaded Chicken Cutlets
(Cutuletti di Gaddina/Cotolette di Pollo)

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4-6 servings.

FOR THE SEASONED BREAD CRUMBS:
1 1/4 cups dry plain bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
1/3 cup minced Italian parsley leaves
1-2 large cloves garlic, very finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

FOR THE CUTLETS:
1 1/2 pounds thin-sliced chicken breast fillets or 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup flour
2 large eggs
Olive oil for frying
1 lemon cut into 8 wedges

1. PREPARE THE SEASONED BREAD CRUMBS: Place the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly rub between the palms of your hands to mix thoroughly.

2. PREPARE THE CUTLETS: Pound cutlets if necessary to an equal thickness, about 1/4-inch. Beat the eggs in a separate shallow bowl until foamy. Place flour on a large plate to dredge the chicken breasts in. Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge both sides of the chicken breast in flour and shake off any excess. Next dip the cutlet into the egg, letting the excess drip off. Then coat both sides of the cutlet with the breadcrumbs, pressing with your hands so that the bread crumbs adhere. Shake off excess crumbs, and place in a single layer on a large platter.

3. FRY THE CUTLETS: Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add 3 or 4 cutlets, being careful not to overcrowd. Cook until golden brown, about2 to 3 minutes per side. Between cooking batches, it may be necessary to remove the accumulated browned crumb sediment from the bottom of the pan or it will adhere to the cutlets. Carefully wipe out with paper towels. Add another layer of oil to the frying pan, and continue to cook the remaining cutlets. Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.

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