Smashed Chicken Scallopine

Smashed Chicken Scallopine


This recipe has been the mainstay of my kitchen through the years. It was always the most-requested recipe when my children came home from college. And I wonder what it is that makes this recipe so special and memorable. It’s just boneless chicken breasts that have been pounded thin, dredged, then fried. We like to serve it with a topping of a light salad of arugula and fresh tomatoes.

Maybe why everyone remembers it so much is because it was the mid-week meal, the Wednesday or Thursday night dinner on school nights, something everyone loved in spite of different palates. And if we were lucky enough to have leftovers, it made a mean fried chicken sandwich the next day!

To make this recipe you pound chicken breasts with a heavy rolling pin or meat mallet until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Then, we dip them into beaten egg white and press both sides into bread crumbs, either homemade or straight from the panko box. After shallow frying in no more than 1/2-inch of oil in the skillet, these golden chicken cutlets are ready to serve with a fabulous salad of tomatoes and arugula on top. Leftovers - should you be so fortunate to have them - go onto tomorrow’s sandwiches or turn into a quickie chicken Parm with the addition of pasta sauce, Parmesan, and mozzarella, plus a little time in a hot oven.


Makes: 4 to 6 servings | Prep: 10 to 15 minutes | Cook: 4 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 egg white
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Pinch dried oregano, if desired
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying

Salad topping:
2 cups arugula leaves
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
Pinch of lemon zest
Good olive oil for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Place each boneless chicken breast in a gallon-size zipper-lock bag. Pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat pounder or heavy rolling pin. Place in the fridge.

  2. Place the egg white in a glass pie plate or wide, shallow dish and beat lightly with a fork. Place the panko, salt and pepper, garlic, Parmesan and oregano, if desired, in a wide, shallow bowl or pie pan.

  3. Place the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. Remove the chicken from the fridge. Dip the chicken on both sides in the egg white. Press the chicken into the crumbs to coat both sides. When the oil is hot, slide one cutlet at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden, about 2 minutes, then turn with tongs to the other side and brown for 2 minutes. Remove to a platter to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining chicken, straining the dried bread crumb bits from the oil between batches.

  5. To serve, top each chicken cutlet with a little arugula, chopped fresh tomatoes, Parmesan shavings, lemon zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Think Ahead: Pound the chicken breasts in the plastic bags and then tuck the bags in your freezer until you are ready to cook. These breasts thaw in under 30 minutes, so you can come home, let them thaw while you are getting everything else ready for dinner, then cook.