Chicken Breast Milanese With Green Olive-Celery Relish
A breaded chicken breast, gently fried in olive oil, can be sublime accompanied by a bright citrusy relish of green olives and celery. I like to marinate the chicken in buttermilk for an hour or longer, which adds sweetness and helps keep the meat moist. But if you are pressed for time, it’s fine to skip this step.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
- Salt and pepper
- 2cups buttermilk (optional)
- 1cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch of cayenne
- 2cups fresh bread crumbs, from a French or Italian loaf
- 1cup roughly chopped pitted green olives (use a food processor if you have one)
- 1cup diced celery
- 2small garlic cloves, minced
- 1teaspoon orange zest
- 1teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Pinch of oregano
- 2tablespoons lemon juice
- 1tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 1tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Watercress or arugula, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
Step 1Put each chicken breast between 2 sheets of heavy plastic and pound them to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Trim any ragged edges. Season each breast on both sides with salt and pepper. If desired, place breasts in a bowl and cover with buttermilk and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to 6 hours).
Step 2Prepare the breading: Arrange 3 shallow bowls. Add flour to one bowl, then season it with salt and pepper and a little cayenne. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Fill the third bowl with bread crumbs.
Step 3Drain the chicken. Dip each breast lightly into the seasoned flour, then into beaten egg and finally into the crumbs. Put breaded chicken on a baking sheet and sprinkle with more crumbs on both sides. Refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to fry.
Step 4Make the olive-celery relish: In a mixing bowl, combine olives, celery, garlic, orange zest, lemon zest, red pepper, oregano, lemon juice, parsley, mint and basil. Season with salt and pepper and stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Step 5Put a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil to a depth of 1 inch. Heat oil to 365 degrees. Test the temperature by throwing a bread crumb into the oil — it should brown gently. Add breaded chicken breasts in one layer without crowding. Do not disturb them until they become golden and crisp on one side, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn with tongs and cook on the other side for 3 minutes more. Remove and drain breasts on absorbent paper. Give them a light sprinkling of salt.
Step 6To serve, put 1 breast on each of 4 dinner plates. Top with 2 tablespoons green olive-celery relish and garnish with watercress and lemon wedges.