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Chicken Cutlets with Cacciatore Farro Salad and Red Pepper Aïoli

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Serves 6

  • from Fine Cooking
    Issue 119

In this riff on classic chicken cacciatore, crisp panko-crusted chicken cutlets and a hearty farro salad are balanced here by bright, fresh arugula, while the creamy aïoli ties the dish together.

For the aïoli
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil; more for the peppers
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the farro salad
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. (2 cups) pearled farro
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into small dice
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, cut into small dice
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup using a rasp grater); more as needed
  • 2 Tbs. fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the chicken:
  • 5 oz. (1-1/2 cups) rice flour or cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups panko
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 cup using a rasp grater)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, tenders removed
  • 5 to 8 Tbs. canola oil
  • 3 oz. baby arugula (about 3 cups lightly packed)
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Make the aïoli

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F.

Halve and seed the bell peppers and rub them with oil. Set them cut side down on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet and roast until just tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam, 10 minutes. Pull off and discard the skins. Reserve 4 pepper halves for the farro salad.

Coarsely chop the remaining 2 pepper halves and put in a blender with the mayonnaise, olive oil, garlic, and 2 Tbs. water. Purée until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Make the farro salad

Fill a 4-quart saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in 2 Tbs. salt and the farro. Cook until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain the farro and spread it on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. of the oil and toss to prevent it from sticking.

Cut the reserved roasted peppers into small dice. In an 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes more. Add the wine and simmer vigorously until reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Stir in the farro, butter, cheese, oregano, balsamic, and roasted peppers. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more Parmigiano-Reggiano. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Cook the chicken

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 200°F.

Put the rice flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat the eggs in a second shallow bowl. In a third, combine the panko with the parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper.

Butterfly the chicken breasts: Slice the thick part of each breast horizontally almost in half so you can open it like a book. Using a meat mallet, pound each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg, letting the excess drip off, and then in the panko mixture to coat well. Transfer to a plate.

Heat 3 Tbs. of the canola oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot—a few crumbs dropped in the oil should sizzle immediately. Cook 2 of the chicken breasts, flipping once with tongs, until golden-brown and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain briefly, then to a rimmed baking sheet; keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken in 2 batches, cleaning the pan and adding more oil as necessary.

In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then toss with the olive oil and season with pepper to taste.

Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and cut them into thirds. Serve with the farro, aïoli, and arugula.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 1050; Fat (g): fat g 55; Fat Calories (kcal): 490; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 12; Protein (g): protein g 52; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 27; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 81; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 13; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 810; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 210; Fiber (g): fiber g 10;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Fantastic! Easy to make and tastes good. I used spinach instead of arugula but it was still good.

Chicken turns out absolutely delicious and is great with the Red Pepper Aioli sauce! ;-)

One of the most delicious recipes I have ever made. The farro salad was so flavorful my teenage son could not stop eating it by the bowlful! It is a fair amount of work, but some of it can be prepped ahead of time to make it easier at the end.

This is a tasty dish. The aioli is perfect with the other flavors. The farro salad is easy to make and tastes great! The crispy chicken is tender and all the components are balanced with each other. This is a good company dish. I will be making this over and over.

This recipe was a little fussy but easy to prep in advance and definitely worth it. Also good for kids-- if the sauce is too much for them, they can just eat the chicken fingers. My kid declared it 100% delicious! The red pepper aioli was best part-- we cleaned the bowl with some extra French bread.

I LOVED this dinner. I also think that it would be amazing with grilled salmon instead of the chicken cutlets (not to mention a little less fattening)!

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