Pine Nut Chicken Cutlets with Cauliflower au Gratin
Pine nuts, cheese and fresh herbs dress up this delicious chicken and cauliflower dish.
- 1/2 loaf crusty bread or stale white bread, torn into pieces
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
- 2 lemons, 1 zested and 1 sliced into wedges
- 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup flour for dredging chicken, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 large eggs, beaten with a splash of water
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded firm, aged Italian fontina cheese, such as fontina Val d’Aosta
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- Olive oil, for frying
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Toast the bread until golden. Place the toasted bread in a food processor and add the pine nuts. Pulse-grind the bread and nuts into crumbs. Pour the crumbs onto plate and combine with the thyme and parsley (reserving a sprinkle of parsley for the cauliflower), half of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the lemon zest.
- Halve the chicken breasts crosswise and gently pound them out between parchment paper or plastic wrap. Season the cutlets, eight pieces in total, with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken in flour, then egg, then the breadcrumb mixture and reserve. Wash your hands after handling the raw poultry.
- Heat a couple of inches of water in a covered pot. Trim up the cauliflower and halve it, then slice into 1-inch-thick slices or break into florets. Arrange the cauliflower in boiling water and season with salt. Cover and cook the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes, then drain it and arrange in a small, shallow casserole dish.
- Heat a small saucepot over medium heat. Melt the butter, whisk in 2 tablespoons flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; thicken for 3-4 minutes. Stir the fontina cheese and sage into the sauce and melt, about 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to cover evenly; top with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a sprinkle of parsley. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
- Heat a half-inch of olive oil in a skillet and shallow fry the cutlets in two batches, 3-4 at a time on each side. Reserve the cooked cutlets on a rack placed over baking sheets. Serve two cutlets per person, with a wedge of lemon alongside and lots of cauliflower as a side dish.