Traditionally, Milanese is a technique used in Italian cooking where a protein is coated in flour or breadcrumbs and pan fried. I wanted to make this Chicken Milanese for my Italian food loving husband, but I couldn't justify eating fried food, so I came up with this healthier version, a baked Chicken Milanese. By preheating the pan, I was able to get the chicken crunchy like the traiditonally fried version but still managed to cut out hundreds of calories. My husband now asks for this at least once a week.
A few notes:
1) The balsamic glaze will stink up your kitchen for a little bit, consider yourself forewarned. If you're not offended by the acidity of plain balsamic, you can skip the glaze and just use some high-quality balsamic vinegar on the salad. The glaze is a lot sweeter, less acidic, and generally more palatable, so I recommend it.
2) I also recommend using Panko breadcrumbs. You can use regular breadcrumbs as well; they are actually easier to adhere to the chicken, but the Panko crumbs get much crunchier and tend to get less soggy from the salad. For the ultimate crunch, go with Panko.
3) Don't skip out on preheating your pan, it is the trick to getting your chicken really nice and crunchy. You should hear a sizzle the minute your chicken hits the pan; that's how you know you're doing it right.
Serves 2-3 as a main
For the balsamic glaze:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
For the chicken:
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, either pounded thin or purchased in cutlets
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
Olive oil spray
For the salad:
4 cups arugula
2 tbsp olive oil
4 medium ripe tomatoes, largely diced
optional: 1/2 red onion
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
1. Make the balsamic glaze: Combine the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar is fully dissolved. Once dissolved, raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until the glaze thickens and the mixture is reduced by half. (If you have extra glaze, store it in the fridge. It is delicious on so many things.)
2. Bread chicken: Combine olive oil and lemon in a medium sized bowl and stir to mix. Pour the breadcrumbs on to a plate. Dip cutlets into the lemon/ oil mixture and then into the breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs firmly into the chicken to adhere.
3. Preheat pan: Place your pan in a preheated oven and heat your pan for about 5 minutes. You can do this before you bread your chicken, however, do not remove the pan until you're ready to put your chicken in the oven.
4. Cook chicken: Remove preheated pan from the oven and spray with olive oil. Place your chicken cutlets in an even layer on the pan and spray the tops of the chicken with olive oil. Bake chicken for 15 minutes, turning once halfway and spraying with olive oil again.
5. Make the salad: While the chicken is cooking, make your salad. Combine arugula, diced tomatoes, onion if using and olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt to taste.
6. Assemble: Remove chicken from the oven and spoon one spoon of balsamic glaze over the chicken. Top the chicken with the arugula salad and drizzle the rest of the balsamic glaze over the salad.