When it comes to finding a weeknight dinner, I get lost in the promises of 30-minute wonders and sheet pan superstars. There are just so many options, and all of them look delicious. But, lately, I’ve been craving crispy, golden, crunchy comfort—the kind that comes with a dip in hot, bubbly oil. A dinner I actually look forward to around 5 pm (sorry, eggs).
Power to you if you’re able to deep-fry on a Wednesday, but I’m turning to a quicker, easier way to get my midweek fried fix: cutlets.
It’s a similar formula to traditional frying, flour, egg bath, crumb coat, but the thin cut speeds everything up. They need just minutes in the pan to form a bready shell (while still maintaining a juicy core). Also, the other reason cutlets are the low-effort, high-reward dinner I need is how flexible they are; they taste just as good on salads and in sandwiches as they do solo.
So, if you’re on the hunt for a comforting (but convenient!) cutlet, check out our four favorites below:
While katsu is typically made with pork, it tastes just as delicious with chicken. Serve it over crispy lettuce or cabbage and rice with a drizzle of sweet, sticky tonkatsu sauce.
Our own Merrill Stubbs developed this recipe as an answer to her now-husband’s allegiance to wiener schnitzel. “Ina Garten first introduced me to the notion of adding grated parmesan and fresh herbs to the breadcrumbs when making cutlets, and some time ago I decided I preferred panko to plain breadcrumbs because of the extra crunch,” she says. Another tip? Use a rolling pin to pound them into thin sheets for crispy (cathartic) perfection.
Instead of a rolling pin, Alexandra Stafford uses a boozier tool to coat her cutlets: “This recipe for pepita-crusted chicken cutlets calls for toasting pumpkin seeds briefly in the oven and using a wine bottle (in place of a food processor or a spice grinder) to pulverize them,” she writes. “Simply transfer the seeds to a resealable plastic bag, then smash with a wine bottle until they're crushed.”
Out of the millions of chicken recipes out there, we keep flocking to this one. Whether you use store-bought caponata or make your own, the combination the parmesan chicken cutlet with the caponata makes a scrumptious bite.
What's your favorite cutlet for a casual dinner? Share recipes in the comments below, please!
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now