The Crispiest Chicken Cutlets You Can’t Mess Up

Alexa Weibel’s new chicken Milanese makes golden, crispy cutlets truly foolproof for the fry-phobic.

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By Margaux Laskey

Happy Monday, everyone. Margaux Laskey here, filling in for Melissa Clark today. Big shoes to fill! But I’m happy to be here.

I might spend 42 hours constructing a geode birthday cake, but please don’t ask me to fry anything. The mess, the time, the waste? No, thanks. But when my colleague Alexa Weibel asked me to test her new recipe for classic chicken Milanese (above), I couldn’t say no. Sometimes being a people pleaser pays off: The chicken was tender, the panko-Parmesan crust delightfully crunchy. Piled high with a tangle of lemony greens, it’s kind of everything I’ve ever wanted in a meal. The recipe calls for halving and pounding chicken breasts until very thin, but you can save yourself time by buying chicken cutlets instead. They’re a little more expensive, but on a busy night, the cost-benefit ratio might make them worth it.

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Chicken Milanese

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For something equally lovable but a bit less hands-on, try Eric Kim’s ritzy Cheddar chicken breasts. They rely on Ritz crackers and are baked in the oven, which means no Jackson Pollock oil splatters to clean up. And for the vegetarians who need a Milanese fix, there’s David Tanis’s tofu version.

Speaking of vegetarians: Priya Krishna calls vegetable pulao “a weeknight staple in many Desi households” because it’s wildly flexible. Pretty much any fresh or frozen vegetable will do in her new one-pot recipe, which is great because the only vegetable in my house right now is a three-pound bag of “vegetable medley.”

It’s June, which means wedding season is on. (Get that dress or suit dry cleaned.) If you’re that Type-A friend who volunteered to make the cake, Natasha Pickowicz has a truly extraordinary toasted sesame and charred citrus showstopper that guests will be chattering about for years to come; you can watch her make her cake here. She also has a recipe for a chocolate whiskey and coffee caramel groom’s cake that I might dive into if given the chance. (The groom’s cake is a tradition that originated in Victorian England. It usually contained chocolate, fruit and alcohol, and was served only to the groomsmen.)

But maybe you just want cake, and quickly. This summery strawberry spoon cake from Jerrelle Guy, which can be made with fresh or frozen berries, is ready in about 30 minutes and is ooey and gooey in all the right ways. Add a sprinkling of ground cinnamon, cardamom or ginger before baking, or just leave it be. The only required accompaniment is vanilla ice cream.

A Tip for Less-Mess Cutlets

When pounding boneless meat to a particular thinness, sandwich it between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap before whacking away. Not only is it less messy, but I find it’s easier to get an even thickness when the slippery meat is neatly contained. You can do this in advance, then roll or fold up the sheets — meat included — and store in the fridge until you’re ready to bread and fry.

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