An escalope is a piece of boneless meat made uniformly thin by pounding with a mallet. A schnitzel is a popular Austrian dish made with escalopes that are coated with bread crumbs then fried until golden and crisp. Milanesa is the South American (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico) name for practically the same dish. There are many other names by which it is known in other parts of the world. Recipes vary. The type of meat used — veal, pork, beef or chicken — varies as well. But it’s the same basic dish — fried breaded thin slices of meat.
Traditional schnitzel is made with veal and fried in lard. Milanesa is often used as a sandwich filling.
This chicken schnitzel (or milanesa which is much easier to pronounce) with herbed panko (Japanese bread crumbs) was inspired by a recipe of George Calombaris, one of the judges of Junior Master Chef Australia, and the cooking technique that Speedy saw in an episode of Food Safari. Speedy cooked this dish, by the way; I just helped.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
about 1/4 c. of flour stirred with 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of ground pepper
2 eggs, beaten
about 3/4 c. of panko (Japanese bread crumbs) stirred with about 2 tbsps. of chopped herbs (we used parsley and thyme but you can use other herbs that you think will go well with chicken)
about 1 c. of vegetable cooking oil for frying
- Holding your knife on a 45 degree angle, slice each chicken breast on the bias into three portions. Take a large sheet of baking paper or cling wrap, place the chicken slices (two to three at a time) on one side, cover with the other half and pound with a mallet until about an eighth of an inch thick. You now have your escalopes.
Place the seasoned flour, egg and bread crumbs in three shallow bowls then position the bowls side by side like an assembly line.
Dredge an escalope in flour making sure every part of the surface is coated.
Dip the floured escalope in the beaten egg.
Then coat with bread crumbs.
Repeat until all the escalopes have been dredged, dipped and coated.
Heat the cooking oil which should be at least half an inch deep so that it reaches the sides of the chicken.
Fry the chicken, one or two at a time, until the bread crumbs are lightly browned. Flip to brown the other side. The frying takes a very short time since the chicken has been pounded to such thinness that it only needs a few minutes to cook. Bread crumbs burn fast so don’t fry for too long.
As each piece of chicken cooks, lift out of the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
Serve the schnitzel (or milanesa or whatever you want to call it) immediately.
You can pair them with salad greens, mashed potato or even French fries. If you’d like to go with a Chilean theme, pair the chicken with meatless charquicán or mashed potatoes and squash with spinach and celery.
Cooking time (duration): 30 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: lunch