Chicken milanese with salsa rosa

  • Preparation Time45 mins
  • Cooking Time35 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy

For the chicken

8 (60g) pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Sea salt, preferably grey salt
Freshly ground black pepper
250ml Mama's salsa rosa, recipe follows
Parmesan cheese wedge
1 lemon, quartered

For the coating

200g fine dried bread crumbs
50g freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, preferably grey salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
70g plain flour
2 eggs
Olive oil, for frying
For rocket salad:
115g rocket, washed and stemmed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Fresh lemon juice, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For Mama's salsa rosa:
12 large red peppers
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing peppers
4 serrano chillies
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
120ml fresh tomato puree
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, preferably grey salt
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1) Preheat oven to 180C.

2) For the chicken: With a meat mallet or a rolling pin, pound the chicken cutlets between sheets of plastic wrap to 3mm thickness. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper and press the seasonings into the meat with your fingers.

3) For the coating: Combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Work in the olive oil by hand, then spread the mixture on a dinner plate. Spread the flour on another dinner plate. Break the eggs into a shallow bowl and beat lightly. Dip the cutlets in the flour, coating both sides and shaking off the excess. Then dip in the egg, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Finally, coat the cutlets on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs, pressing them into place. As each cutlet is coated, place it on a tray. Cover the cutlets and refrigerate until you are ready to fry them.

4) Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add olive oil to a depth of 1/2-cm. When the oil is almost smoking, add as many cutlets as the skillet will hold comfortably; do not crowd the pan. Cook until the cutlets are golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on the second side about 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. With tongs, lift the cutlets as they are done, allowing any excess oil to drain back into the skillet, and transfer to baking sheet lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.

5) When ready to serve, place chicken cutlets on cookie sheet to finish cooking, about 2 minutes.

6) For the salad: Place the rocket in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat the leaves lightly. Add a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper. Toss, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

7) Divide the cutlets among 4 plates, placing them in the centre. Spoon a little salsa rosa on each side of the cutlets. Mound the rocket salad on top. With a vegetable peeler, shave a little Parmesan on top of the salad.

For the salsa rosa:

8) Preheat oven to 230C/Gas 8.

9) Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Brush the peppers lightly with olive oil and place on the baking sheet. Bake, turning every 10 to 15 minutes, until the peppers are blistered all over, about 30 minutes total. Transfer the peppers to a brown paper bag, and close tightly so they steam as they cool. You can roast the peppers under the grill or over a gas flame, if you prefer, but I like to do them in a hot oven. It takes a little longer, but you don't have to monitor them as closely.

10) While peppers are steaming, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add the whole chilli, lower the heat to moderate, and cook, turning occasionally, until the chilli are softened, lightly browned, and blistered on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the chillies cool in the oil for several minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the stems.

11) Add more oil to the skillet, if needed, to make 2 tbsp. Reheat the oil over moderate heat and add the garlic. Cook until lightly browned, about 30 seconds, then add the oregano and saute briefly to release its fragrance. Add the tomato passata and salt, bring to a simmer, and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly.

12) Remove peppers from bag, peel and remove the stems, seeds; avoid the temptation to rinse the peppers, which would wash away flavour.

13) Combine the red peppers, serano chilli, and tomato sauce in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the vinegar and the black pepper to taste and puree again. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 4 months.

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