I’m sure many of y’all have heard of the cheekily-named “Engagement Roast Chicken” that’s reported to be so good, any man will fall in love on the spot. All due respect to Ina, but I’ve got my own chicken recipe that’s equally simple to make and, thanks to it’s crispy exterior and gorgeous presentation, even more effective at convincing any man, woman or child that you’ve got it going on in the kitchen. Keep scrolling for the recipe, and I’d love to hear if any of y’all try this chicken paillard out on your date this Valentine’s Day!
Don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling a romantic night coming on, something fresh, light and seasonal feels way more apropos. I like something that doesn’t leave me feeling weighed down (and leaves room for something a little more decadent and chocolatey post-meal.) For this chicken dish, I’ve swapped out the traditional roasted potatoes for a couple of light salads to top the chicken — and coincidentally, act as a great camouflage if any of your chicken pieces look less than perfect.
To make this quick and easy, line up your breading ingredients before you start cooking to keep things organized. I place flour, eggs, and panko bread crumbs (in that order, with the panko closest to the hot pan) in individual bowls, add the seasonings, then use a fork to whisk each one. After breading each piece of chicken, it goes straight into the sauté pan.
Why two salads, you ask? Because it takes this from a weeknight workhorse to special occasion territory, plus these are so simple that making both versions is almost as easy as making just one. Of course, you can totally choose just one of these to keep things even easier and your date will never know the difference. This balsamic reduction is key to finishing this dish in a way that feels special. I shared how I make my own here, but you can also pick up a bottle of ready-made on the vinegar aisle of most grocery stores.
Can’t wait to hear if you guys give this a try! Oh, and if you’re looking for a decadent way to end the meal, check out these 20 chocolate desserts to seduce your Valentine.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken cutlets (or 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts halves that have been pounded thinly and then cut in half)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of aleppo pepper or chili flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
for the salads to top:
- 4 cups kale, de-stemmed and shredded
- 6 - 8 fresh figs, halved or quartered
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- reduced balsamic vinegar, store-bought or homemade
- Setup your chicken ingredients assembly line-style by placing the flour, eggs, and panko in 3 individual shallow bowls. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to each of the bowls (and optional aleppo pepper or chili flakes) and use a fork to mix the seasonings into the flour and bread crumbs. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the eggs, then lightly beat.
- Heat a large skillet to medium-high while you prep the chicken. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, then dip in flour, coating well and shaking off excess. Repeat with egg and panko, then set aside on a plate. Repeat with all 4 chicken pieces until they're all coated with flour, egg, and panko.
- Melt the butter and olive oil together in the hot pan. Add 2 or 4 pieces of chicken to the pan (however many will comfortably fit in an even layer) and sauté without moving for 2 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and sauté chicken for an additional 2 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove to a serving plate and place in a warm oven. Repeat cooking process with remaining 2 chicken pieces if needed.
- For salad #1, place shredded kale in a bowl, then season with salt and a little olive oil. Use hands to massage for about a minute, until kale softens a little. Add figs and cherries, and drizzle with reduced balsamic.
- For salad #2, place arugula and cherry tomatoes in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently.
- Remove chicken from oven and top with salads. Eat!
*make it even easier and just as delicious by making just one of the salad toppings!