Sesame Crusted Chicken Cutlets w/ Vietnamese Caramel Sauce

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Chicken cutlets are a hurried cook’s best friend. They cook up quickly, are versatile, and can serve as a blank palate for whatever flavors you want to add. But the biggest danger to cooking thin filets is over cooking them; in a matter of seconds they can go from perfectly cooked to over done leaving you with meat that is dry and rubbery.

So how do you make sure your filets are perfectly cooked? I like to bread mine with a crispy coating first which helps seal in the juices. This recipe, from Cuisine at Home, yields perfectly cooked chicken cutlets that are crispy, juicing and thanks to the spicy caramel sauce that accompanies them, full of flavor. The triple coating of bread, egg and panko crumbs infused with toasty sesame seeds results in a delicious outer layer that seals in all of the juices. You can make the caramel sauce while the chicken cooks, leaving in the solids as I do or straining them out if you prefer a smooth sauce. I like to keep them in because they add texture and interest. Either way, your results are sure to please. Serve the chicken alongside rice or noodles so you can enjoy every last drop of the caramel sauce.

SESAME CRUSTED CHICKEN CUTLETS w/ VIETNAMESE CARAMEL SAUCE

For the chicken:

4- 3 ounce chicken filets

1 1/2 cup panko crumbs

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 egg

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced

1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

  • Combine the panko crumbs and sesame seeds in a shallow dish.
  • Beat the egg in a separate shallow dish.
  • In a third shallow dish combine the flour, salt and pepper.
  • Dredge a chicken filet in the flour mixture then dip it into the beaten egg before coating with the panko mixture. Set aside on a plate and repeat.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  • Add the chicken filets and cook, flipping once, until brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side.
  • While the chicken is cooking, place the sugar in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, cook the sugar until it has melted and is light brown in color.
  • Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce and fish sauce in a small bowl then whisk it into the melted sugar.
  • Stir in the shallots, garlic, ginger and serrano chile.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until thicken and reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  • Serve the sauce over the chicken.

Serves 4

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