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Sophie has become quite the little kitchen helper. Her favorite meal is Dad's parmesan chicken, and tonight she asked if she could help prepare it. So, I let her pitch in. I prepared the ingredients in 3 mixing bowls, got the chicken cutlets ready, and turned over the prep to Sophie. She dove right in and got the entire 2 pounds of chicken ready for frying. (Click the picture for more shots of her culinary debut.)
The recipe is based on one I found in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook. These days I mostly "wing it", but here's how we did it for 2 pounds of chicken cutlets:
Dredge each cutlet through the flour mixture coating evenly. Dip it into the egg mixture, let it drain for a few seconds, and then dredge it through the breadcrumb mixture. You should end up with a good helping of breading on it. Lay the cutlet on a plate to set, and continue, stacking them on the plate.
When all the cutlets are breaded, get a broom and help Sophie clean up the mess. :-)
Get an overproof ceramic dish, and put it into a preheated 250 degree oven. In a nonstick skillet heat a few tablespoons of olive oil (EVOO for all you Rachel Ray fans) and a chunk of butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted fry the first batch of cutlets, about 3 minutes on each side (cooking time depends on how thin your cutlets are). When both sides are nicely golden brown, transfer them to the dish in your oven.
Add some more olive oil and another chunk of butter to the pan. You want to keep enough of the frying liquid to cook the cutlets, but don't drown them. Keep frying the cutlets, adding olive oil and butter as necessary, until you have cooked them all. Transfer the cooked cutlets to the dish in the oven so they'll stay warm.
Squeeze fresh lemons to get about 1/3 cup of juice. Add olive oil up to the 3/4 mark. Add a pinch of kosher salt, and then a lot of fresh ground black pepper. We like a lot of pepper! Whisk the mixture.
Sophie likes her cutlets plain, with just the lemon pepper sauce. In the Barefoot Contessa recipe, she suggests placing shredded romaine lettuce on top of each cutlet, and then drizzling the lemon pepper sauce over it. That's how I like to eat them.
I usually serve the chicken with a light tomato & basil pasta. Tonight we were pressed for time so I just made a quick batch of rice pilaf, and some corn for Sophie since she's not much of a salad eater.
Sophie's prep work was excellent -- they tasted as good as they always do. And,
we had a lot of fun cooking together.
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