How Chicken Cutlets Became a Phenomenon
In the last 30-40 years chicken cutlets have risen to unparalleled popularity, creating a sensation in the culinary world. Once an item that didn’t even exist in the space, it became a juggernaut that once introduced, became a must have in any butcher shop or supermarket. This blog explores how this relatively simple item became such a superstar protein.
The origins of chicken cutlets can be traced back to various regions around the world. However, the concept of a breaded and fried chicken cutlet gained prominence in Italian cuisine, where it is known as "pollo alla milanese." The dish consists of a thinly pounded chicken breast, coated in breadcrumbs and pan-fried until golden brown. Italian immigrants brought this delectable creation to the United States, where it underwent further transformations to suit local tastes.
One key factor in the widespread popularity of chicken cutlets is their adaptability. Chefs and home cooks alike embraced the dish, tweaking the recipe to incorporate diverse flavors and culinary influences. Whether it's adding spices, herbs, or unique breading techniques, the adaptability of chicken cutlets allowed them to seamlessly integrate into various culinary traditions.
One of the main reasons behind the popularity of chicken cutlets is their simplicity and easy preparation. The dish requires minimal ingredients – chicken breasts, breadcrumbs, eggs, and basic seasonings – making it accessible to both novice and seasoned cooks. The straightforward cooking process and relatively short preparation time have turned chicken cutlets into a go-to option for busy households. Want to try for yourself? Here’s a great easy to make recipe.
Once upon a time if you wanted this item you would have to buy a whole bone in chicken breast,
then slice them off the bone yourself, or have your neighborhood butcher do it for you. Sometime in the early 80’s though all that changed. Some of the larger poultry purveyors in the industry spotted the growing request and started to accommodate the public by producing packages with already boned out chicken breast.
This made it convenient for the consumer to then take that boneless item and do any number of things to it without having to wield a knife or have any knowledge of how to break down a whole bird. This became even easier for the consumer when shortly after this the grocery stores also started to introduce thin sliced chicken cutlets.
If you’ve made it this far then perhaps you’ll find this side note interesting, in the last few years Boneless Chicken Thighs have surged in popularity. The dark meat in the thigh gives quite a contrast when blended with the white meat breast, and this has become the most popular method for most people making Chicken Burgers. The thighs come skinless, so they are a healthy optio.They can be cooked very quickly and served whole, or diced up and thrown into a stir fry. They can also be butterfield, rolled, or stuffed with any number of delicious ingredients for a slow roasted option.
The journey of chicken cutlets from a traditional Italian dish to a global culinary sensation is a testament to the dish's adaptability, simplicity, and universal appeal. Whether enjoyed as a family dinner, a quick lunch, or a trendy restaurant dish, chicken cutlets have secured their place as a culinary staple. Wherever you come down on the chicken vs. the egg question, one thing is for sure, no matter which came first, as long as it ends in a cutlet no one will complain.