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Chicken Cutlets from My Childhood


I am sure that most Italian-Americans have their own recipe for this dish, but the ones my grandmother and mother made were the best by far!

panko bread crumbs for the coating. The finished product is much more crispy than the seasoned breadcrumb from the can that my mother and grandmother used. It is addicting. It is a favorite in my family, something we know the kids are guaranteed to eat. We always serve it with roasted asparagus. I don’t know why, but that is how it is done in the Della Vecchia household.

One last item: try taking some extra left over panko and adding some of the egg mixture until a little patty can be formed. Fry the patties after the cutlets and enjoy.

(makes enough for 4 people – double the recipe for great leftovers)

4 large chicken breast, cut in half evenly and pounded thin
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh parsley
grated pecorino cheese
cracked black pepper
Seasoned, dry panko bread crumbs (the best quality you can buy)
Oil for frying

  1. Beat the eggs and add the milk. Chop the parley and add to mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Grate the zest of one lemon and add. Add the cutlets to the egg mixture.
  2. Pour a generous amount of panko in a plate. Grate enough pecorino over the panko as you like (taste the panko for salt levels first, but I use a lot). Zest the other lemon and add to crumbs. Season with cracked black pepper to taste. Mix until thouroughly distributed. Spread out the panko so it is even. Cut the lemons into wedges to use for later on.
  3. In a large saute pan add enough olive oil to come up the sides a bit. Heat on medium high until a bit of panko dropped in the oil start to sizzle.
  4. Take out a cutlet and lay it in the spread out panko. Press it in, and then flip. Press again until the whole outside of the cutlet is covered. Add to the oil and add another two coated cutlets to the pan (or to fit). Fry on one side until golden brown. Flip and repeat. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle some salt on them as soon as they come out of the oil.
  5. Serve with the lemon wedges.

5 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. John – Nice Blog with great photo’s! This particular entry reminds me of my youth. These (but with veal) were a staple of my nonna’s kitchen. For some reason she always used dehydrated parsley, and of course, no panko back then. Like you, I use chicken or sometimes turkey breast. Great sandwiches with leftovers the next day. She did sliced cardoon the same way. Good stuff.



    • Paul – My mother and grandmother also used dehydrated parsley. And I remember getting chicken cutlet sandwiches in my lunchbox in elementary school!



  2. I’m younger and from an Italian-American family as well and my mom is still making cutlets as my grandmother did. Love the recipe, John… really does seem like all Italian-Americans have a variation on this!


    • I agree – no two recipes are alike, but the best is always the one that you grow up with.



  3. Lori- I commend your checois. Sounds like you made the right checois.My wife and I did the same thing. I was career Air Force (1964-1984). We decided to have children and since we both came from broken homes (post WWII)we wanted our children raised correctly with Mom staying home while Dad earned the money. Best decision we made as a couple. Our girls are now 36 and 40 and they are people who are mature, responsible (now don’t get me wrong there were problems) but because we were family they knew when they need help ($$$ or advice) they came to me or Mom.After I retired from Boeing in 2000 when the girls came asking for a few bucks, I said I’m retired now so you are gonna have to see Mom. The response was Aw Dad! Not Mom. Yep, that is when they became budgeting experts. See, Dad wasn’t an easy tap anymore.Both girls married the right guys. They were like their Mom they stayed away from unreliable people. Now the lifelong friends they have are the type I’d invite to my Thanksgiving table. Good friends everyone.We were lucky, we got out of the service when the girls were 12 and 8 years old. My wife and I wanted our daughters to have a stable home when they were going through the teenage years. Not wanting Military Brats . No drugs, no smoking (not even pot), and being respectful by not getting pregnant. I won’t tell you they didn’t try to do some drinking they did and didn’t really like it. They are the same today. Since I was a AF Medic in charge of the O.B. Ward at Fairchild AFB, Spokane WA. My daughters knew where babies came from and understood their responsibilities as to not get pregnant without being married. Giving young people responsibility and holding them accountable for their actions is part of maturing. Being an ADULT. Yes they will fail sometimes. But allowing for failure and giving them another chance to gain your respect back is the key to success.Then there are some young people who just don’t get it. Lazy, ill-trained,not caring about their future or wanting someone else to provide for them is what we are getting out of our high schools today. Most colleges will tell you that the incoming freshmen class lacks basics . Sad report card on public education for which we pay property taxes. Evaluate a high school graduate and see if their public education measures up to being able to qualify in the workforce. I don’t think I’m far wrong.These slackers will be the ones we have have to avoid after a collapse or financial meltdown in this country. They will be easily led and eagerly follow the destructive mob of anarchy rioting in our streets.VA:F [1.9.22_1171]0 0


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