Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Broiled chicken cutlets

I bet you thought that you would never see this here.  Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.  We eat as many plain chicken cutlets as the next family, but generally we pan broil them on the stove top using either a cast-iron or a nonstick skillet.  Why?  Because we ate a lot of broiled chicken and London broil when I was growing up, and it was always as dry as sawdust, so I assumed that broiling in a home oven was the best way to kill food, for a second time.  (My mother used to say "I'm no Betty Cocker" and this is before she went back to work full-time.) I generally use the broiler for vegetables and to brown things when they are nearly done cooking.  We occasionally moan that living in an apartment doesn't allow us to have a real grill. 

Tonight's dinner proved me wrong.  Amy got home before I did and marinated 2 large chicken cutlets (about a half pound each) for about 30 minutes in a mixture of Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, a smashed garlic clove, a bit of honey, and a pinch of thyme and oregano.  Then, rather than pan broil them as we generally would, I  preheated the broiler to high for a few minutes, put them on a baking sheet lined with foil sprayed with oil, sprayed the top of the cutlets, and put them under the broiler.  I broiled them for about 7 minutes on each side, 5 inches from the flame until they were browned lightly.  I then let them bake in the oven for another 7 minutes on 415 degrees.  They came out far juicier than any pan-broiled cutlets we have ever had.  It is difficult to be too exact about the cooking time, which varies with the size and shape of the cutlets, their temperature when you start to cook, the kind of pan you are using and the real, as opposed to the declared, heat of your oven.  So test them with your finger (run it in cold water first to protect it against the heat of the chicken):  if it is fairly firm with just a little springiness, it is done.  Let it rest a few minutes before slicing on the bias and serving.  We had it with an onion confit with Port and raisins from the Isle D'Orleans in Quebec.

The results were amazing, and this method beats cleaning the pan, whatever type you use, and there are no worries about chemicals leaching out from a nonstick surface at high heat.  I would not say that this testing was done with Cooks' Illustrated level rigor, but I am a convert.

1 comment:

  1. Alan!
    It's Andrea Rosen! I was just googling "chicken cutlet broiler," and this is what came up about 5 entries down! I'm like hey! I know that guy!

    And this is EXACTLY what i was looking for - I wanted to know if I could broil marinated chicken cutlets (for similar reasons that you mention - not having easy access to grill in an apartment) and if so, how and for how long. So thank you!

    I'm gonna go cook my chicken cutlets (marinated in olive oil & lemon juice, garlic, onion, s&p and assorted "italian" herbs). So glad I found this!
    Hope you're well!