Breaded Chicken Cutlets
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), tenderloins removed (see note above)
- 1/2 cup kosher salt or 1/4 cup table salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 5 - 8 slices high-quality white bread such as Pepperidge Farm, crusts removed and torn into rough 1 1/2-inch pieces
- Ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- lemon wedges for serving
1. Pound chicken breasts to even 1/2-inch thickness. Dissolve salt and sugar in 1 quart cold water in gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Add cutlets and seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible; refrigerate 30 minutes. Line rimmed baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels.
2. Remove cutlets and lay in single layer on baking sheet; cover with another triple layer of paper towels and press firmly to absorb moisture. Allow cutlets to dry for 10 minutes. Process bread in food processor until evenly fine-textured, 20 to 30 seconds (you should have about 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs). Transfer crumbs to baking dish. Carefully peel paper towels off cutlets, sprinkle cutlets with pepper, and set aside.
3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spread flour in baking dish. Beat eggs with 1 tablespoon oil in second baking dish. Spread bread crumbs in third baking dish.
4. As shown in illustrations below, bread the cutlets, one at a time. Dredge cutlet in flour, shaking off excess. Using tongs, dip both sides of cutlet in egg mixture, allowing excess to drip back into baking dish to ensure very thin coating. Dip both sides of cutlet in bread crumbs, pressing crumbs with fingers to form even, cohesive coat. Place breaded cutlets in single layer on wire rack set over baking sheet and allow coating to dry for about 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat 6 tablespoons remaining oil in heavy-bottomed 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Lay two cutlets gently in skillet; cook until deep golden brown and crisp on first side, gently pressing down on cutlets with wide metal spatula to help ensure even browning, about 2 1/2 minutes. Using tongs, flip cutlets, reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook until meat feels firm when pressed gently and second side is deep golden brown and crisp, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes longer. Line warmed plate with double layer of paper towels and set cutlets on top; return plate to oven.
6. Discard oil in skillet and wipe skillet clean using tongs and large wad of paper towels. Repeat step 5 using remaining 6 tablespoons oil and now-clean skillet to cook remaining cutlets; serve along with first batch with lemon wedges.