Earlier this week, I told you the story of the first dinner I made for Andrew and while the details are a little fuzzy (it was nearly 10 years ago!) I think it’s safe to say it was a success!
One of the reasons I wanted to share a month full of Date Night Dinners is because, while we both love to go out for meals and/or cocktails together, our favorite date nights are usually the meals we make together at home. Pretty much every Anniversary, holiday, Valentine’s Day, etc., we stay in and cook because it’s something we enjoy and have been doing since the very beginning of our relationship.
We did date night dinners at home in part because, well, we were young and going out to eat is expensive but also because when I first met Andrew, we were neighbors! We lived in the same apartment complex but in different buildings so many of our earliest memories involve cooking together in one of our apartments. I do pretty much all the weeknight cooking these days; but back then Andrew cooked dinner for us most of the time. He would get home from work earlier than me so by the time I would get home, drop off my work things and head over to his place, he generally had already grocery shopped and had started dinner (and have a glass of wine ready!) Gosh…those were the days!
He still enjoys cooking and will gladly step up and do dish duty on most nights but since he is gone all day and I am already in the kitchen most days, I end up being the one who handles dinner! He does however cook for a lot of our date nights so he definitely helped to inspire this one.
One of Andrew’s most favorite things is a chicken cutlet. When we go back home to my parent’s house it is always his first request. My mom always knows to have a few cutlets in the fridge for him to have for lunches or snacks. So while it’s not something I make often, because it can be a bit of a process, it’s something I have perfected because I know he loves it.
In deciding how I wanted to incorporate chicken cutlets into a date night meal, there is your typical route of going with an italian classic like chicken parmesan. But I wanted to keep this a little lighter since our date nights normally have an appetizer or charcuterie plate involved and/or cocktails and dessert. So I decided to put my own spin on one of my favorite chicken cutlet recipe – chicken milanese.
These chicken cutlets are just slightly fancier than your average cutlet, they are topped with thick sliced tomatoes, lemony arugula and my favorite date night accompaniment – burrata!
There are few things in life more indulgent to me than cutting into a big ball of burrata cheese. If you aren’t familiar with burrata, it is a soft cheese very similar to fresh mozzarella but it’s filled with cream inside making it super rich and delicious! The burrata sits on top of this chicken cutlet stack and as you slice into it, the cream delicately coats the tomato and arugula making a delightful little salad on top of your cutlet.
So, before we get to the recipe, let’s chat a little about the art of the chicken cutlet, shall we? A sign of a good chicken cutlet is crisp, not greasy. It also should be juicy and flavorful enough on it’s own that you can eat it by itself and not need to smother it in sauce. Here are my tips for getting that perfect cutlet!
1. The flavor lies in the seasoning – you MUST season every single step of the breading process to ensure that there is tons of flavor in your chicken cutlet. For me, I put a big pinch of salt in the flour, the eggs and the breadcrumbs to ensure it is well seasoned. For the breading, we are using a 50/50 ratio of breadcrumbs to parmesan cheese to ensure plenty of flavor and that beautiful golden brown color.
2. You do not need a ton of oil to fry them but you do need the oil to be the correct temperature. The oil will be the correct temperature about 15-20 seconds after you hear it sizzling consistently. As you are lowering the chicken cutlet into the oil, you should see it immediately start sizzling and bubbling when it hits the pan, if it is not, the oil is not hot enough. If the bubbling starts getting significantly faster and louder while cooking, you may need to turn the heat down a bit.
3. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken cutlet registers between 160*-165* – there is nothing worse than cutting into your chicken cutlet and realizing it’s raw; however, I don’t want you to worry and overcook it either. That will just result in a burnt chicken cutlet. If the chicken is not up to the proper internal temperature – put it on a baking sheet in a 300* oven until it is cooked through.
Don’t want to deal with frying your cutlets? No problem! There are air fryer directions listed in the “notes” section of the recipe.
Next week I will do a quick chicken cutlet tutorial on my IG stories so you can see this process for yourself. There are a lot of steps but I assure you it is really a simple process!
Caprese Chicken Cutlet Stacks
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
- 2 teaspoons italian seasoning, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 cup avocado oil, for frying
- 2 cups arugula
- 3-4 ounce ball burrata cheese
- 1 medium tomato, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt, to taste
Make the chicken cutlets
Combine flour, 1 teaspoon each garlic powder and italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In a third shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese red chili flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining garlic powder and italian seasoning.
Place chicken breast on a cutting board and cover with a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, beat with a meat mallet until the chicken breast is even in thickness (about 1/4 inch thickness is ideal)
Lightly season chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides and then dredge the seasoned chicken in the flour, then dip in the egg and coat with the breadcrumb mixture, pressing firmly to ensure it adheres.
Heat a cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium low heat, add the avocado oil and allow oil to heat up until just sizzling. Using tongs, lower chicken into the hot oil and allow to cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Once the breading is turning golden brown on the edges, it's time to flip. Carefully flip the chicken cutlet with tongs, then cook another 1.5-2 minutes.
Remove chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Check the internal temperature with a digital meat thermometer - chicken should be between 160-165*. If the chicken needs to cook longer, put it in an oven on low heat (300*) until internal temperature is reached. Repeat for each chicken cutlet.
Make the stacks
In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Starting with your chicken cutlet on the bottom, top with 2 slices of tomatoes, then pile on the arugula. Carefully slice the ball of burrata in half and place one half on top of each cutlet.
Air Fryer Cutlet Instructions
follow the same breading process as listed above.
preheat air fryer to 400*
once preheated, spray chicken cutlet lightly with spray olive oil or avocado oil on both sides and place in air fryer basket. Air fry for 7-8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches at least 160*
resist the urge to flip the chicken cutlets as the breading may stick to the basket if flipped before it crisps completely, if you want to get even color on both sides, flip for the last 1-2 minutes of the cook time.