An escalope is a piece of boneless meat that has been thinned out using a mallet or rolling pin, or merely butterflied. The mallet breaks down the fibres in the meat, making it more tender, while the thinner meat cooks faster with less moisture loss. Chicken is the favourite for this form of cooking, although pork, veal and lamb are also popular.
This is a simple and tasty dish that can be seasoned in a number of ways, and is hearty at any time of year.
The term escalope originates in France and first appeared in cookery lexicons during the 17th century, rooted in rural north-east France when veal was by far the most popular ingredient.
Prep: 10-20 minutes
Cooking: about 30 minutes
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin removed
8 tbsp plain flour
2 free-range eggs, beaten
150ml/5fl oz milk
250g/9oz fresh breadcrumbs
180g/6¼oz unsalted butter
½ lemon, juice only
salt and pepper for seasoning
Sandwich each chicken breast between two sheets of cling film. Using a rolling pin, flatten each chicken breast until it has widened and become thinner (this is called an escalope).
Remove and discard the cling film. Season the chicken escalopes with salt and pepper (but see variant below).
Tip the flour into a bowl. Beat the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto a plate.
Dredge each chicken escalope in the flour and shake off any excess.
Dip each floured escalope in the egg and milk mixture, then dredge it in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.
Heat half of the butter in a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the breaded escalopes, in batches two at a time, and fry for 4-6 minutes on each side, or until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden-brown and the chicken is cooked through (the juices will run clear when the chicken is pierced in the thickest part with a skewer).
Remove the breaded escalopes from the pan and keep warm.
Repeat the process with most of the remaining butter and the remaining chicken escalopes. (Reserve a little of the remaining butter.)
Heat the remaining butter in the frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter has turned a pale golden-brown, squeeze in the lemon juice and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
Season using fresh sage leaves, finely chopped, and crushed black peppercorns
Serve with a refreshing rocket salad
olive oil, for drizzling
splash balsamic vinegar
100g/3½oz wild rocket leaves
80g/3oz freshly grated parmesan
Prepare the salad
In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, to taste, until well combined. Add the rocket leaves and mix well to coat the leaves in the dressing.
To serve, place one chicken escalope into the centre of each of four serving plates. Pour a little of the lemon butter over each escalope. Pile the dressed rocket leaves alongside and sprinkle over the parmesan.