Lemon Breadcrumb Chicken

Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 2
Shallow-fried in butter, chicken cutlets here are crisp and bright thanks to a lemony breadcrumb coating.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)
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A classic staple of Italian red-sauce joints, this preparation is a great way to cook boneless skinless chicken breasts. Here, I add lemon zest to the bread crumbs to add even more tart flavor to the chicken. Use store-bought bread crumbs or make your own with any leftover stale bread: Simply blitz it in a food processor until it turns to small crumbs then let it dry out again for another day. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Lemon-Breadcrumb Chicken


Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface and space the chicken breasts out evenly with plenty of room between them. Lay another sheet of plastic wrap over the top then use a meat mallet, rolling pin or heavy can and pound the chicken breasts until they’re evenly 1/4-inch thick all over. Remove the top sheet of plastic and season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.


On your work surface near your stove, arrange three large dinner plates, pie plates or other wide, shallow dishes. Place the flour in the plate farthest from the stove, the eggs in the second plate and the bread crumbs in the last plate. Season the flour with salt and pepper and mix with your fingers to combine. Add one tablespoon water to the eggs and beat with a fork until evenly combined. Season the bread crumbs with salt and pepper then use a Microplane grater to finely grate the zest of the lemon over the crumbs; reserve the lemon. Rub and mix the zest into the crumbs with your fingers.


Place a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. While the fats heat up, bread your cutlets: Place one cutlet in the flour, flipping to coat, then lift it out and gently shake it to remove any excess flour. Dip both sides of the cutlet in the egg then remove and let any excess drain off. Place the cutlet in the bread crumbs, pressing to coat each side well. Repeat with the second cutlet.


Once the butter stops foaming, add the cutlets to the skillet and cook until golden brown and crisp on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Using a long spatula and some confidence, flip each cutlet over, tilting the skillet toward the cutlet as you do so it doesn’t splash in the oil. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the opposite side is golden brown and crisp, 3 minutes more. Quickly transfer each cutlet to a plate and remove the skillet from the heat.


Cut the reserved lemon in half then cut one half into two smaller wedges. Place two large handfuls of arugula in a bowl then squeeze the lemon half over the arugula. Drizzle the arugula with some more olive oil, season with salt and pepper then toss with your hands to coat well. Split the dressed arugula between the two plates, piling it over the cutlets and serve each with a wedge of lemon.