Crispy, savory chicken that dresses up with tomatoes, aged balsamic and fresh basil for a fast and fresh dinner and makes great chicken tenders for the kids. I love dinners that do double duty.
This is a riff on Milanese Chicken. Milanese is Italian for in the style of Milan and is chicken dipped in egg, crusted with breadcrumbs and parmesan and then fried in butter. Italians do it right, that’s for sure.
Instead of egg, I like to use a mayo and Dijon combo because it makes the chicken crispier and I use regular olive oil instead of butter only because I like to top it with tomatoes that have extra virgin olive oil.
Are you wondering why I’m not using extra virgin olive oil to cook the chicken? Extra virgin olive oil is the first, cold pressed result from olives. It’s the finest, the fruitiest, and the most expensive. Those flavors cook off when heated so extra virgin olive oil is best used for salad dressings and drizzling as in this recipe. Olive oil, and especially light olive oil, has a higher smoke point which means if you put extra virgin in one pan and regular olive oil in another and heated them equally, the extra virgin will smoke (burn) earlier and once that happens you can’t get that flavor out. Olive oil is okay to use if you’re not going higher than medium-high for a relatively short time. If you frying something longer, hotter, or deep frying use peanut oil or safflower oil which have very high smoke points. I’ll leave the discussion of parmesan versus Parmigiano-Reggiano and how aged is aged balsamic for another day.
Regardless of what oil you use, this chicken packs a powerful flavor punch with the parmesan added to the breadcrumbs. It’s great served plain for picky eaters and then topped with this fresh and delicious tomato topping using your finest olive oil for you. This goes great with a cold glass of chardonnay or a crisp and dry champagne.
- 2 tablespoons oil of choice
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons regular or light mayo
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon depending on how much flavor you like
- 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs, find them in the international aisle of the grocery store)
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 2 cups halved grape tomatoes (I like Cherubs, they have consistently decent flavor all year)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil, you can’t substitute dry, if you don’t have fresh just leave it out
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons aged balsamic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Heat oil in 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
- Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts.
- Mix mayo and Dijon together and coat chicken with it.
- Mix panko and parmesan and dredge chicken, pressing to adhere as much as possible.
- Carefully lay chicken in skillet and reduce heat to medium. While chicken cooks, combine tomato mixture, keeping your eye on the chicken.
- Cook until chicken is deeply golden, about five minutes. Then flip over and cook until other side is golden about 10 minutes. Adjust heat as needed if it’s browning too fast or slow. Check chicken with instant read thermometer if desired to ensure that temperature is up to 155°-160° or cut into the thickest part of one breast and make sure it's not pink.
- Serve topped with about ½ cup of balsamic tomatoes.