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Chicken Francese (or Francaise as some folks spell it) is something that anyone that grew up going to a classic "red-sauce joint" will hold dear to their hearts. These restaurants and bastions of Italian-American cuisine like eggplant parm and fettuccini alfredo, exist all over the country and offer comforting, delicious versions of the classics.
Francese is a preparation (much like Milanese) that can be used with all types of meat and seafood from shrimp to veal. For chicken it involves dredging cutlets in flour and beaten egg, creating a pseudo batter. The cutlets are then pan-fried and made crispy, albeit temporarily. See chicken Francese is one of those dishes that epitomizes "crispy gone soggy" - a texture sensation that is one of my absolute favorites. In this case, the chicken becomes "soggy" because you finish them by simmering in a rich, lemony sauce that will knock your socks off.
It might seem strange but it is such an iconic flavor/texture combination. Also, it is very easy to make and comes together in under an hour. What could be better?!
To complete your Italian feast serve this chicken up with fresh garlic bread and a simple salad topped with red wine vinaigrette.
If you have any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 4 days. Luckily this dish is used to being a tad soggy and lends itself well to being reheated in the microwave.
If you tried this Italian-American staple, let us know by rating and commenting below!
boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ¼ lbs), cut in half lengthwise
Freshly ground black pepper
all purpose flour
canola or peanut Oil, for frying
unsalted butter, cut in tablespoons
dry white wine
low-sodium chicken stock
lemon, zest and juice
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
- Working with one piece at a time, place chicken cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a small heavy skillet, pound out chicken so they are even thickness, about ¼” inch thick. Season all over with salt and pepper.
- Set up dredging station: Beat eggs, garlic powder and a pinch of kosher salt in a pie plate or other shallow baking dish. Place flour in a second shallow dish.
- Fill a large, heavy bottomed skillet with oil and place over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, coat each cutlet in flour, shaking off excess then dip in egg, turning to coat. Place the cutlets directly into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet.
- Cook cutlets, flipping halfway through, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer cutlets to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Set aside.
- Wipe out the pan of any excess oil and browned bits, then place back over medium heat. Toss 4 tablespoons of butter in the remaining flour and add to the pan. Melt butter, stirring until just beginning to foam then whisk in the wine. Raise the heat to medium high.Bring the wine to a boil and cook 1 minute.
- Add stock, lemon juice and zest to the sauce and return to to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly until sauce is reduced by about ⅓, 3 to 4 minutes. Once reduced, lower the heat to medium-low and swirl in the final tablespoon of butter until glossy.
- Return the finished cutlets to the sauce and cook, flipping once, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. To serve, garnish with lemon slices and parsley.