Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
Per the name, this dish originates from Milan, Italy, and dates all the way back to the 1000’s. Traditionally, veal was used in this preparation – however, the dish has grown to have variations using chicken cutlets, and sometimes even pork. I love all versions, but this chicken one is probably the one I make most often!
I love this dish for a simple weeknight dinner, but because it’s so delicious – and with the interesting, vibrant “sauce” of fennel and cherry tomatoes – it’s definitely an occasion-worthy dinner as well. The crust on the chicken contains dried herbs and Parmesan, which gives it layers of delicious Italian flavor, and the Parmesan helps give it a beautiful golden-brown crust.
The side sauce is really great, and I have even made it with other proteins as well in the past. The combination of caramelized fennel, bright cherry tomatoes and mascarpone is the perfect combination of vibrant and creamy – it pairs wonderfully with the crispy chicken.
Giada's Chicken Milanese
For The Chicken:
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/4 cups plain bread crumbs
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 6 to 8-ounce boneless and skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
For The Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 cups 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- For the chicken: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a wire rack.
- Using 3 wide shallow bowls, add the flour to 1, the eggs to another and to the third bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, and thyme.
- On a work surface, put the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, lightly pound the chicken until approximately 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly, then dip into the beaten eggs, allowing the excess egg to drip off. Coat the chicken with the bread crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.
- In a large, nonstick saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add 2 pieces of the breaded chicken into the oil and cook until light golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Reserve the cooking juices in the saute pan.
- For the sauce: Using the same saute pan, add the olive oil to the reserved cooking juices and heat over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the tomatoes are tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and spoon the sauce over the top before serving.