A Back-to-School Dinner at the Zimmern House
This butter fried chicken recipe is in my head more often than not. That’s saying something. It’s one of our monthly meals at the Zimmern house, and its yet another brilliant way to do chicken for a crowd that includes kids. Paired with a bright citrus punch and salty capers, this fried chicken entrée makes everyone happy. My son starts screaming “butter chicken” and runs up and down the hallways when he comes home from school and learns what’s for dinner. I first ate this dish 30 years ago, served for a family meal one night at a restaurant in Florence where I was a stagiaire. I hadn’t seen butter during my first few weeks in Italy and almost fainted when I tasted this.
Butter Fried Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds), halved crosswise
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 large eggs
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
- 3 shallots, minced
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
Using a meat mallet, lightly pound any thicker parts of the chicken breasts so they are of even thickness. In a shallow baking dish, mix the flour, salt and pepper. In another shallow baking dish, mix the bread crumbs, cheese, oregano, basil and cayenne. Place the eggs in a medium bowl and beat well.
Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge in the flour, then dip the chicken in the egg, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge in the bread crumbs, pressing to help the crumbs adhere. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet.
In a large cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add 4 chicken pieces and cook until golden brown and cooked through, turning halfway, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the fried chicken breasts to a serving platter and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Add the shallots and capers to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon slices. Spoon some of the sauce over the butter fried chicken and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.