When Making Chicken Milanese, Your Marinade Is Everything

Chicken Milanese is kind of like chicken parmesan in that it is coated in parmesan-flavored breadcrumbs and then fried, but unlike the latter, it need not be smothered in marinara and mozzarella, but can instead be served up plain or with a variety of different toppings. Recipes for chicken Milanese vary from cook to cook, and Mashed developer Erin Johnson has made a few tweaks of her own. For one thing, she likes to use two different types of breadcrumbs, explaining: "I find that using all panko can make things have a different texture than they are traditionally." Yet another way she puts her own stamp on the recipe is by marinating the chicken.

While not all chicken Milanese recipes call for a marinade, Johnson feels that using one "gives the chicken such a depth of flavor." She favors using a mixture of capers, olive oil, and garlic but points out that you can pass on the capers if you don't care for these briny little buds.

This marinade isn't the standard kind

Typically, a chicken marinade consists of three separate components: an acid, a fat, and something salty. Erin Johnson has the latter two covered with olive oil and capers, while even if you do omit the capers, her recipe still calls for adding a little salt to the mix. As for the acid, though, she gives this a pass. The purpose of an acidic ingredient is to break down the proteins, which can help to tenderize the chicken, but chicken breasts are typically not the toughest of meats. The oil on its own, however, will help lock in the moisture.

If you do want to add a little extra flavor to your Milanese marinade, you could always use an infused oil or else make an on-the-spot DIY one by grating some lemon zest into the mixture. You could also squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to complement the lemon slices Johnson uses to garnish her finished dish.