FRIED CHICKEN BREAST IN BREADCRUMBS
My family love this. It's definitely a weekend only or special occasion meal for us, especially when making it for a lot of people. Whenever I consult the kids on what they might like to have on say a Saturday night, I get the begging big eyes and hands held in prayer position. Words need not be spoken.
I thought that it might make a nice homely Italian meal for my mother-in-law's birthday, as it would be something that she would have rarely had. The traditional side dishes of spaghetti with sugo al pomodoro, tomato and fresh oregano salad, rucola and parmesan salad and ricetta tipica are treats in themselves, and the combination is both aromatic and refreshing.
I work on one and a bit medium sized chicken breast fillets per person. Cutting the fillet 'butterfly' style, you should get four pieces from each fillet. Sprinkle some flour on a plate with salt and pepper, beat a couple of eggs into a large flat dish and put 6-7 slices of fresh bread into a food processor for the breadcrumbs. Since discovering the difference between fresh and packet breadcrumbs there is no comparison. Dried breadcrumbs burn quickly and will make the oil smokey far too soon.
In a wok or deep, wide saucepan, add a mixture of vegetable oil and light olive oil to a depth of 3-4cm. Pat each slice of chicken breast dry with kitchen paper, fully coat in seasoned plain flour, then dip in the beaten egg before pressing into the bowl of breadcrumbs for the final covering. Place 3 or 4 pieces at a time into the hot oil, turning once with tongs, until they become rigid and are golden in colour. Remove and place on a draining rack in a warm oven as the scallopini are ready. The frying can be done half and hour or more in advance to allow time to finish off the pasta, salads and veggies.