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November 2, 2021. Three things to know about this classic Italian dish. It’s incredibly easy to make. A little goes a long Way. It’s a perfect example of eat-more-vegetables-and-less meat.

Let’s take these in reverse order. If you serve chicken Milanese in the traditional way, you put a big salad right on top. A big tangle of arugula with some tomato. Very lightly dressed. Just a little olive oil and a squirt of fresh lemon. Because it’s Fall and the Farmers Market had great Brussels sprouts, I used them instead of arugula. A very big vegetable serving: two cups of thinly sliced greens. On top of a quarter-pound of chicken. A modest but satisfying meat portion size.

If this ¼-pounder sounds like a skinny little burger, well, it sure doesn’t look like that. You (or your butcher) pound the chicken breast to a flat, skinny cutlet. But one that completely covers a very large dinner plate. Not a 3- or 4-inch burger-like diameter. This is more like a 10-inch pizza diameter. Looks impressive. Tastes even better.

Which brings us to the easy part. All you do is dredge the pounded-flat chicken in flour, egg and bread crumbs. Fry it for 3 or 4 minutes in a pan. Now it’s really impressive. And not so skinny. Amazingly quick and easy. This was my first try. Turned out great.

8 ounces of chicken cutlet, pounded thin
1 egg
¼-cup of all purpose flour
¼-cup of bread crumbs, unseasoned
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
4 cups of thinly sliced Brussels sprouts; or, arugula or other greens
Serves two

¼-Pounder with Salad
Cut the pounded meat into 2 or 4 pieces. Four smaller pieces are slightly easier to handle. Two larger pieces look Way Better.

Beat the egg, season it with salt and pepper and put it in a shallow bowl or high-sided dish. Put the flour and bread crumbs in their own dishes and season them with salt and pepper. Now you’re ready to coat your cutlets.

Dredge both sides of each cutlet in flour, then shake off the excess. You want a microscopically thin coating of flour. Then dip both sides in the egg. And then press each side onto the bread crumbs. Put the breaded cutlets on a big platter and into the fridge for 30 minutes. This chill-before-you-cook comes from the recipe in Marco Canora’s great Salt To Taste. You should have this cookbook and you should chill your cutlets. They’ll be perfect.

Now you’re ready to cook. In a big pan over medium heat with the butter and olive oil. As soon as they get frothy, put in (some of) the cutlets. They cook very quickly, so pay attention. Probably less than 2 minutes on each side to fry the breadcrumbs to a beautiful golden brown and cook the meat all the way through. Without drying it out.

During this brief fry-time, toss your greens with one teaspoon each of olive oil and lemon juice. A pinch of salt. Toss thoroughly. A full minute to put a light gloss on every leaf of arugula or shred of Brussels sprout. The salad should be barely dressed, not wet. If you use Brussels sprouts, roast the thin slices for 10 minutes in a preheated 450 F oven.

Drain the cooked cutlets on a paper towel. Then right onto a plate. Where you top them with a very big serving of greens. They’re tender and moist. They’re lightly coated with buttery, crunchy breadcrumbs. And they’re conveniently located right under your vegetable course.

Every Thing Is Everything
Just three servings of vegetables each day — especially cruciferous ones like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts — cut the risk of prostate cancer by almost half, according to Hutchinson Center research. While all vegetables help decrease risk, cruciferous vegetables are the heavyweights. It’s believed that vegetables protect against cancer because they contain a wide variety of phytochemicals which increases enzyme activity to detoxify cancer-promoting compounds in the body.Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

The study showed a 35% reduction in cancer risk for men eating 28 servings of vegetables weekly – and 44% risk reduction for those who ate just three servings of cruciferous vegetables each week. Similarly, the journal Cancer Research reported a 45% reduction in risk for breast cancer for women in Shanghai who ate three to five servings of Chinese cabbage weekly.

Cost-Benefit Analysis
A Wow of a meal for less than $5 and less than 10 minutes of preparation. Looks amazing. Tastes even better. Light but completely satisfying. Delicious. Makes you happy.

Cost Comparison
There’s a place in my neighborhood that makes a great Chicken Milanese. For $26 per person. The Olive Garden chain doesn’t make Chicken Milanese. In fact, they don’t make a chicken entree for less than $18. Salad not included. Stay home. In less time than it takes to put an order in at Olive Garden, make your own masterpiece. Eat and enjoy very slowly. Cheaper is Better.

Let’s Do The Math
Just 45 minutes of fast dancing to knock off the 390 calories in your Chicken Milanese. Just so you know: that huge vegetable portion adds a grand total of 38 calories to your wonderful dinner.

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