Smashed Chicken Gluten-Free Style
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 8 to 10 minutes total
After ordering chicken milanese in a favorite restaurant, I was determined to come up with my own version of the recipe at home. Now I have mastered the art of smashing chicken breasts with a heavy rolling pin. Dredged in seasoned bread crumbs and then sautéed, my kids love them. Because gluten-free bread crumbs are so easy to make yourself—or to buy—I wanted to include a gluten-free version of this easy recipe. I have never met a child, teenager, or adult who doesn't like smashed chicken.
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (11/4 pounds total), frozen slightly
2 cups coarse, dry gluten-free bread crumbs (see Note)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil, or more as needed, for frying
Arugula leaves and chopped fresh tomatoes, or your favorite pasta sauce, warmed, for serving
1.Place each chicken breast in a separate gallon-size resealable plastic bag. It is easier to smash the chicken if the chicken is cold, preferably a little frozen. Place the bags on a sturdy kitchen counter and smash the chicken breasts with a mallet, heavy rolling pin, or cast-iron skillet until they are G inch thick. This will take about 2 minutes per chicken breast. Set the chicken aside or, if you like to plan for future meals, place the smashed chicken in the plastic bags in the freezer until you need to cook them.
2.Place the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano and basil, if using, and the salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix. Set the crumb mixture aside.
3.Pour the olive oil in a large frying pan and place the pan over medium-high heat. Carefully remove the chicken breasts from the plastic bags as they are delicate and can tear. Place 1 breast at a time in the bread crumb mixture and dredge it on both sides.
4.Line a platter with paper towels. When the oil is hot, slide the breaded chicken breasts into the pan, 1 or 2 at a time, depending on how many will fit in the pan. Cook the chicken breasts on one side until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, then turn them with tongs and cook them on the second side until the chicken is cooked through and the bread crumbs are golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken breasts to the paper towel–lined platter to drain. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts, adding more olive oil to the pan, if necessary.
5.Remove the paper towels and serve the chicken on the platter, garnished with arugula and chopped tomatoes or with pasta sauce on the side.
Note: Buy panko-style gluten-free crumbs, or make your own. I use whatever gluten-free white bread I have on hand, toast it, then pulse it in the food processor until it forms coarse crumbs. You can put the garlic into the processor first, pulse to finely mince it, then add the toasted bread and pulse the processor to make crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and seasonings and you are ready to go!
Leftover smashed chicken is superb sliced atop a salad or placed in a shallow baking dish, covered with your favorite pasta sauce, and topped with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake it in a hot oven until the cheese bubbles and you have chicken Parmesan.
Omit the Parmesan cheese when making the bread crumb mixture and the chicken will be dairy-free.