The first time I met Rebecca's grandmother (Oma, as we called her), she made me chicken schnitzel. This was not your cafeteria or greasy diner schnitzel. Oma's ability to transform the humble chicken breast in her old cast iron pot, into something both simple and sublime, was incredible. Her schnitzel had a buttery flavor without being greasy, a perfectly fried crisp exterior with a moist, juicy, flavorful interior. Nearly every time we visited, regardless of the time of day, even breakfast, Oma would have a fresh plate ready for me. With Oktoberfest celebrations upon us, we thought it was time to share her Butter Chicken Schnitzel. If you're worried about frying in butter, remember that when properly fried, only a small fraction is absorbed during cooking.
Yield: 1 chicken breast, serves 2
- 1 boneless chicken breast, skin removed
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch cayenne
- Prepare the chicken breast by butterflying it. To do this, position the breast on a cutting board with the shortest side in front of you. Run your knife parallel to the cutting board, starting about halfway up the thickness of the breast. You will cut through 90% of the breast, leaving a long thin "hinge" of meat on one side. This will allow you to then open up the breast, and "butterfly" it flat. Use the flat side of your knife (or a meat mallet) to gently pound out the thickness of the butterflied breast. You are looking for no parts of the breast to be much thicker than 1/4 inch.
- For the dry dredge: Mix together the dry dredge ingredients (breadcrumbs, salt, black pepper, and cayenne) in a wide bowl or plate. Dredge the chicken to coat on both sides. Press the chicken into the dredge to get an even coating, turning and pressing until all sides are covered. Shake off the excess and discard.
- Preheat an 8 inch pan, non-stick or cast iron, on high heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Once the pan is hot, add the butter. Turn the heat to medium and allow the butter to melt. Wait for the butter to foam before proceeding to the next step.
- When the butter foaming subsides, add the chicken to the pan and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side. Watch that the butter doesn't burn (turn down heat if it starts to burn). Check the chicken for doneness, you are looking for a medium cook to just eliminate any pink in the middle. Serve hot out of the pan, discarding leftover butter.
- If using multiples of this recipe (more then one chicken breast) make sure to wipe down the pan between rounds and start over with fresh butter.