Recipe courtesy of Cooks Illustrated
I love the fact that Cooks Illustrated tests all recipes to find out the very best way to achieve good results. They always have informative "how to" pics.
The chicken breasts will be easier to slice into cutlets if you freeze them for 15 minutes until firm but not fully frozen. To slice in half, place one hand on top of the breast to secure it, hold a chef's knife parallel to the cutting board, and slice through the middle of the breast horizontally. Note that 1/2 ounce of Parmesan is grated on the smallest holes of a box grater (or Microplane rasp grater); the remaining 6 ounces are shredded on the largest holes of the box grater (see photos below). We like the flavor that authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano lends to this recipe. Less-expensive DiGiorno Parmesan cheese can also be used, but the resulting cheese crust will be slightly saltier and chewier. Serve this chicken with a simple salad. Although the portion size (1 cutlet per person) might seem small, these cutlets are rather rich due to the cheese content. To make 8 cutlets, double the ingredients and cook the chicken in 4 batches, transferring the cooked cutlets to a warm oven and wiping out the skillet after each batch.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to even 1/4-inch thickness. Pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Set wire rack on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together 1/4 cup flour and grated Parmesan cheese in pie plate. In medium bowl, whisk egg whites and chives (if using) together until slightly foamy. In second pie plate, combine 2 cups shredded Parmesan and remaining tablespoon flour.
Using tongs and working with 1 cutlet at a time, coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Transfer chicken to egg-white mixture; coat evenly and let excess run off. Coat chicken with shredded Parmesan mixture, pressing gently so that cheese adheres. Place on wire rack.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 2 cutlets in skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cook until cheese is pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. While chicken is cooking, use thin nonstick spatula to gently separate any cheesy edges that have melted together. Carefully flip cutlets and continue to cook until cheese is pale golden brown on second side and meat is no longer pink in center, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Wipe out skillet with paper towel and return to medium heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and cook remaining 2 cutlets. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
When Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Goes Bad
Gummy: Baked chicken has a pale, damp, and gummy cheese coating.
Patchy: A spotty, uneven crust is the result of using the wrong "glue."
Dark and Bitter: A dark brown crust looks appealing but tastes bitter and burnt.