When it comes to cooking chicken, boneless, skinless chicken breasts seem to be what everyone really wants to use. They are the healthier option when it comes to eating chicken and in my family it is Sean’s personal favorite for a meal. The problems I have with boneless chicken breast are one, they are often the most expensive chicken pieces in the store and two, you really need to do a lot to them to add some flavor to them. Don’t get me wrong – I love boneless breasts, but I find the thighs have more flavor to them. When I do use boneless breasts it is very often in chicken salad, a stir-fry or in soup. However, lately I have been going a different route with chicken. I find that I buy a whole chicken and butcher it up myself into pieces. This is often cheaper than buying boneless chicken and only takes a few minutes to do if you have a good boning knife and cleaver. I also buy bone-in breasts when they are on sale and then just take the breast meat off the bone with my boning knife and save the bones in the freezer for when I have enough to make some chicken stock. This gives me everything I want. So when I saw this recipe from Bon Appetit for crispy chicken cutlets with tomato panzanella it sounded great. I could leave the skin on the chicken breasts, Sean gets the white meat he wants and we get great flavor – everyone is happy.
Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Tomato Panzanella
¼ small onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup torn country-style bread, (from about ¼ small loaf)
2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound cherry tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
¾ cup parsley leaves with tender stems
Combine the sliced onion and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar in a small bowl. Season the onions with salt and pepper and set the bowl aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the torn bread; season it with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing the bread, until it is golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the bread to a medium bowl. Wipe out the skillet.
Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the bones and cartilage from the chicken breasts. Save the bones to use for making stock at a later time. Pound the chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap until it is about ¼” thick; season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the empty skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook 1 chicken breast, skin side down, until it is golden brown and nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken breast and cook it until it is cooked through, about 1 minute more; the second side will not brown. Transfer the chicken breast to a platter. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken cutlet and 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil (there is no need to wipe out the skillet).
Cut half of the tomatoes in half. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the same skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the whole tomatoes; season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the tomatoes are lightly blistered and starting to burst, about 5 minutes. Toss in the sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Transfer the tomatoes to the bowl with the croutons. Add the pickled onion with the pickling liquid, the halved tomatoes, parsley, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss it all together. Serve the chicken with the panzanella spooned over it.
This is a great weeknight meal that does not take a lot of effort. I did not have cherry tomatoes on hand that day but I did have some whole tomatoes that I cut up to use instead, though I think the cherry tomatoes would make it better. Pickling the raw onions helps to take out a lot of the bite that raw onions often have, but if you are not a fan of raw onion you can always leave it out. You might want to try it with red onion instead. I find red onion more pleasing when it is raw or pickled. The chicken was done nicely and the crispy skin really added to the flavor of the dish. If you are a stickler for boneless chicken and don’t want the skin you can always leave it off and cook it that way, but I think in this recipe it loses something without the skin. I used torn-up bread from my favorite bread recipe
since I make that bread all of the time, but any french bread our sourdough or anything like that will do nicely. I served it with some green beans and leftover mashed potatoes, though you don’t need any potatoes at all with this meal.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!