These Italian chicken cutlets are a tried and true method to produce tender and flavorful chicken every time. Serve with this simple lemon herb sauce for a delicious dish.
Italian Chicken Cutlets with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce
I’ve never met an Italian chicken cutlet I didn’t like, and I’ve met a lot of chicken cutlets. They are so good at a basic level. The chicken breast is halved horizontally and then pounded on both sided with a mallet. This guarantees that you will get tender chicken. Then they are coated with egg and breadcrumbs, italian herbs, and parmesan. This adds a ton of flavor and texture to the outside of your tender chicken. Finally, they are gently pan fried to produce a delicious deep golden brown crust. It would be hard to believe that a human being could not like this.
Preparing and Tenderizing the Chicken Breast
As mentioned above, a lot of the success of this recipe is due to the preparation and tenderizing of the chicken at the beginning. The chicken breast is first cut in half along the horizontal direction. Cutting thin helps ensure tenderness. Place the chicken breast on the cutting board and press down firmly with your hand on the top of the breast. With your other hand, cut the chicken breast in half horizontally. This is easiest with a sharp knife with a sufficiently long blade, say 6 to 8 inches.
Now place the cutlets in a single layer on your cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the cutlets with a mallet. If you don’t have a mallet, you can turn a frying pan, rolling pin, or empty wine bottle into a makeshift mallet. Remove the plastic wrap, flip the chicken cutlets, and repeat.
Breading and Pan Frying the Italian Cutlets
To prepare your Italian breaded chicken cutlets, beat some eggs very well in one bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian herbs, garlic powder, and black pepper. If you don’t have mixed Italian herbs, you can substitute parsley, oregano, basil, or some combination of these herbs. Dip the chicken cutlets in the eggs, coat well, remove and make sure excess egg has dripped off. Next, coat the cutlets in the breadcrumb mixture; make sure cutlet is well coated but shake off any excess breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Gently place your breaded chicken cutlets into the hot oil. Cook on medium heat until the chicken cutlet turns a deep golden brown; this should be about 3 – 5 minutes depending on the heat. Flip the cutlets and repeat on the other side. Remove to paper towels or a wire rack to remove excess oil.
Lemon Herb Sauce
The lemon herb sauce is very simple to make. You can make it while the chicken cutlets are cooking to save time. Mix together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, chopped parsley, and lemon juice/zest. The lemon and herbs give the sauce a bright fresh flavor, which lightens up the fried cutlet. The mayonnaise adds some creamy texture. The sauce will thin out depending on how much lemon juice you add, so you can adjust the consistency of your sauce here by changing the amount of liquid you add. If you want to thin your sauce out more but you don’t want to add more lemon juice, add some water a few drops at a time.
Serving the Italian Cutlets
Serve the Italian chicken cutlet immediately while still hot. The lemon herb sauce can be served at room temperature or cold. In fact, a cold sauce will provide a large temperature contrast with a hot cutlet, which can be pleasant and more perceptually interesting.
Italian Chicken Cutlets with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 each eggs, well beaten
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 0.25 cup grated parmesan
- 2 tsp dried italian herbs if you don't have italian mixed herbs, you can use dried parsley, oregano, and/or basil
- 1 tsp garlic powder this is for breadcrumb mixture
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- 0.5 cup canola oil for frying
- 0.75 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1.5 tbsp mayonnaise
- 0.25 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 each lemons, juice and zest
- 0.5 tsp garlic powder this is for the sauce
- Prepare chicken cutlets. Lay chicken flat on cutting board and cut in half horizontally. The easiest way to do this is to put your hand flat on the top of the chicken breast to press it firm against the cutting board. With your other hand, cut the chicken in half horizontally with a knife with a sufficiently long blade. To tenderize the cutlets, lay them on your cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken with a mallet or makeshift tenderizer (e.g. frying pan). Turn the chicken cutlets and repeat the pounding.
- Beat eggs well in one bowl. In separate bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan, dried italian herbs, garlic powder, and black pepper. To bread the cutlets, dip each cutlet into the egg mixture and allow any excess egg to drip off. Coat each cutlet thoroughly with breadcrumb mixture.
- Heat canola oil in a large frying pan on the stove top. Gently place cutlets in hot oil and cook until deep golden brown – should be about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip cutlets and repeat on the other side.
- Place cooked cutlets on paper towel or wire rack to drain excess oil.
- To make sauce, mix together yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, garlic powder, and chopped fresh parsley. Season with salt to taste. Serve with hot chicken cutlets.