Chicken cutlets
June 30, 2010 12:37 PM   Subscribe

A long time ago, I had an acquaintance who made the most delicious chicken cutlets in the known world--featuring fresh herbs and some kind of grated cheese that was not Parmesan--and I haven't been able to find or recreate the secret recipe. Hope me, Italian grandmas of AskMe...

The secret, I believe, was in the grated cheese. She told me the name of it once, but I couldn't write it down and promptly forgot. I remember that it started with a C, was imported, and very expensive. It wasn't a parmesan, but resembled one; she had to grate it herself and it was very crumbly. It might have been some kind of pecorino.

I'm not sure what herbs and spices were in it, but there was definitely fresh parsley and possibly a little basil. There was probably garlic involved.

Pretty sure the breadcrumbs were not panko, but I'm not sure what they were either.

She would soak the cutlets in some kind of egg mixture overnight, dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, let stand a while more, then soak them in egg and dredge them in the breadcrumbs all over again.

I know that isn't much to go on, but maybe it will ring a bell with someone.
posted by Soliloquy to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Could the cheese be Cwmtawe Pecorino?
posted by SugarAndSass at 12:41 PM on June 30, 2010

Cheshire and Caerphilly are both crumbly cheeses, but I wouldn't describe them as being much like parmesan.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:50 PM on June 30, 2010

Could it be Caprino stagionato? Similar to pecorino, but from goat milk.
posted by francesca too at 12:52 PM on June 30, 2010

IANAGAIAPI (I am not a grandmother although I am partly Italian) and I use Cacio di Fossa, very similar to Pecorino. I happen to love Locatelli Pecorino Romano, and use that as well, as it's easy to get, and so tangy and salty...yum. Another similar cheese that begins with C is Canestrato di Moliterno Stagionato.

Please note that I am pretty much world famous for my chicken cutlets, and I use 4C plain breadcrumbs. You let the cheese and parsley and the chicken do the talking, not the spices in the breadcrumbs.
posted by iconomy at 1:22 PM on June 30, 2010

As for breadcrumbs, perhaps they were just fresh breadcrumbs? Stale baguette + food processor = fresh breadcrumbs. Worlds above the type in a box if you ask me, though I keep panko in the pantry for when I eat all my bread before it goes stale. I do, however, turn stale bread into breadcrumbs and keep them in the freezer instead of throwing the bread away.

Wish I could help more with cheese ID, but it looks like you just have an excuse to buy some delicious cheeses. Maybe contact a specialty cheese shop in your area?
posted by hungrybruno at 1:38 PM on June 30, 2010

My wife the chef, my mom the mom and my dearly departed Nonna pretty much use the same recipe. Stale bread, season your breadcrumbs with salt and pepper (season at every level!), Pecorino Romano, egg wash, bada bing bada boom. Don't crowd them in the pan when you are frying them.
posted by fixedgear at 3:13 PM on June 30, 2010

There are two secrets to properly breading a cutlet of chicken or veal:

Add a little oil to the egg mixture, it helps the breading stick to the meat. And leave the breaded cutlets in the air (counter or fridge) for about 15 mins to "dry" before pan frying.
Never again will you see the breading fall off your meat as it fries.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:31 PM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's a recipe for seasoned Italian breadcrumbs from Nick Stellino which I haven't made, but I've liked most of his other stuff that I've tried.

And now a wacky idea for your mystery cheese: Asiago. It doesn't start with the letter C, but the second syllable is "see", and my brain misremembers stuff this way all the time. (Hopefully your brain works a little better ...) Anyway, it's crumbly, sharp and salty, not available pre-grated, and the imported versions can be expensive. Domestic Asiago is reasonably cheap and pretty decent, and might be worth buying just to see if it's like the stuff you remember.

P.S. If you find the cutlets of your heart's desire, please post the recipe or link!
posted by Quietgal at 3:59 PM on June 30, 2010

Could the cheese be ricotta salata? It's sliceable, yet crumbly; very salty; and I can just imagine it'd taste divine on pan-fried, crunchy, herby chicken cutlets.
posted by FergieBelle at 7:31 AM on July 1, 2010

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