It was not really Chicken Milanese.
Then again, I didn’t expect it to be.
Nor did I expect it to be a “mindful choice,” as the menu suggested. A mindful choice would have been to go home and make oatmeal for dinner.
But it was late, there was traffic, and I was hungry. So I committed the sin of…eating at a chain restaurant.
As a rule, I do not eat at chain restaurants for one reason: the food is god-awful terrible bad.
And I am being kind.
My Chicken Milanese, for example, arrived as two orange-colored pieces of chicken, with a foul, Windex-flavored, soppy-wet salad poured on top. There was a triangle of orange something-or-other (maybe bread?) on the side, and it was all covered with a heavy coating of plastic cheese flakes.
It was billed as “comfort food of the highest order, based on a cooking style that celebrates the most perfect of human activities—gathering together with friends and family to share a meal of indescribable flavor and delight.”
OK, maybe if you hate your friends and family.
Truthfully, the real Chicken Milanese IS an amazing meal. Here is a recipe:
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups (packed) baby arugula leaves (about 2 ounces)
Using meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten chicken between sheets of plastic wrap to thickness of 1/2 inch. Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend. Mix panko, 2 tablespoons parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper on plate. Dip chicken in beaten eggs; turn to coat. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating completely. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plates; sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss arugula with remaining 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mound salad atop chicken.
This is what I ate last night:
hydrolyzed corn gluten
autolyzed yeast extract
partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil and soy oils
propylene glycol alginate
calcium disodium EDTA
panko bread crumbs
pasteurized sheep’s milk
pasteurized part skim milk
I knew better. But it was my choice.
I ate the meal with my head bowed in penance, because the real sin was not my decision to dine at a chain restaurant. The real sin is that we, collectively, tolerate this.
• • •
For more on healthy eating and good food choices, please consider reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver or Food and Healing by Annemarie Colbin. Both of which can be purchased here.
Digital photo art “Chicken” by Jen Payne, ©2010.
Real Chicken Milanese recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine.