Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crispy Chicken Costoletta

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Living in Chicago has some perks, like the abundant restaurant choices available. But despite many city friends who are anti-chain restaurants, the suburban girl in me isn't ashamed of liking or dining in them. Besides, chain restaurants offer some good eats too! One such chain is The Cheesecake Factory. Before I moved to the city, going to The Cheesecake Factory was a special treat and we'd often go there to celebrate occasions among my suburban circle of friends. We enjoyed the ambiance, the novel of a menu they offered and the desserts - especially their famous cheesecakes!

So now that you know I'm not above going to a chain restaurant, I have another confession. When going to restaurants, sometimes I'll ask our server if I could take home an actual menu - not their mass-produced take-home brochure menu, but rather the same one they offer me at the restaurant to order from. There's just something about opening up an actual menu and having your hunger prepped for a dish you're in the mood for. Those folded take out brochure menus don't quite have the same affect. Some places are fine with letting me take home a menu, others are not. But you can only imagine how awesome I felt when I was able to take home a menu from The Cheesecake Factory! I felt as if I hit the restaurant menu jackpot since it's a fairly thick, spiral-bound menu!

The other night I looked through my cookbooks and menus I've collected to come up with my weekly meal plan. I opened up The Cheesecake Factory menu and decided on the following dish. I never ordered it at the restaurant but the description sounded tempting...
"Chicken Breast Lightly Breaded and Sautéed to a Crisp Golden Brown. Served with Lemon Sauce, Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Asparagus."
It's amazing what you can find online, including a copycat recipe for this dish! The chicken is pounded thin, breaded with a hint of lemon zest and finished off with a delicious lemon cream sauce. Similar to how it's served at the restaurant, I paired it roasted asparagus and a baked potato with herb butter and sour cream. It's definitely a dish worthy for guests and it's a restaurant quality recipe you can make at home for the fraction of the price!

Crispy Chicken Costolleta
recipe clone of The Cheesecake Factory Restaurant
serves 4
For the Chicken:

4 chicken breasts, cut horizontally, and pounded to about 1/4 inch thick, or use chicken cutlets.
3 Tablespoons flour
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
2 eggs, whisked
2 tablespoons water
zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons Freshly grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Have a baking sheet set aside.

In one pie plate/baking dish combine flour, pepper and salt.

In another pie plate/baking dish combine eggs and water, whisk until combined.
In another pie plate/baking dish combine lemon zest, bread crumbs and cheese.

Place pounded chicken or chicken cutlets in the flour, coating well, followed by the egg mixture and the bread crumbs.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Place chicken in pan and cook on each side about 5 minutes until middle is no longer pink. You will need to work in batches, adding more oil and butter as needed. Keep chicken warm by placing on baking sheet and place in the preheated oven until ready to serve.

Lemon Cream Sauce
:

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup plus 1 T fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold


Over medium heat in a fairly large saucepan heat canola oil.

Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant.

Add whipping cream and boil until reduced by one-third.

Add Dijon, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.

To serve: Plate the chicken with the lemon cream sauce over it and serve hot.

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