Today David shares a classic Spanish lunch staple: the chicken milanesa. This is a solid pick if you end up eating out at a traditional Spanish lunch restaurant. It’s also easy to make at home!
Imagine this: you’re a high school student, and you’ve been busy at school all day. You’re on your way home for lunch (yes, Spanish kids get to go home for lunch!), fantasizing about what your parents might have cooked up in the kitchen. You run through the door and see a big plate of chicken milanesa (milanesa de pollo) waiting for you on the table—a dream come true!
Chicken milanesa is a simple dish, but one of the most delicious lunchtime staples in Spain. Just take thin fillets of chicken breast, coat them in breadcrumbs, and fry them in a shallow pan. Usually served alongside a fresh garden salad, rice, boiled potatoes, or homemade french fries, this is one hearty dish! With so much flavor coming from so few ingredients, it’s no coincidence that so many countries have similar schnitzel-like recipes.
From Italy with Love
As the name suggests, the milanesa comes from (you guessed it) Milan. It’s most likely based on a classic Italian recipe known as cotoletta alla milanese (breaded veal fillets), though the Milanese tend to fry the meat in butter rather than oil.
You’ll find recipes for milanesa de pollo (sometimes called pollo empanado) throughout much of the Spanish-speaking world. It’s a traditional lunchtime dish in Spain, Mexico, and plenty of other countries in Latin America! And while the side dishes that come with it might change, the chicken is always the same (and always delicious). Experiment at home with different side dishes, or different sauces to go along with it.
Chicken Milanesa Recipe
Chicken Milanesa Recipe - Milanesa de Pollo
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil canola works too
- Lemon wedges to serve
- To prepare the chicken, slice each of the breasts crosswise into two thin fillets. Place in a zip-lock bag and bash with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin to flatten out to about a 1/4-inch thickness.
- Take two medium-sized kitchen bowls. In the first, beat the egg. In the second, combine the breadcrumbs with the garlic, pepper, and salt.
- Dip each chicken fillet in the egg, then in the breadcrumb mix, and then place on a plate ready to fry.
- To fry the chicken, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is shimmering, fry the chicken fillets for about 5 minutes on each side without crowding the pan (you might only be able to do 1 or 2 at a time depending on the size of the skillet). Place chicken on a plate that has been covered with a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
- Serve hot, with lemon wedges on the side.
What did you serve your chicken milanesa with? I usually go for salad and rice, but if I’m feeling gluttonous I’ll make some french fries! Let me know in the comments below.