Weeknight Chicken Milanese with Fennel Salad
On busy weeknights, I am always looking for simple meals. This chicken milanese with fennel salad is simple enough to prep after work, but packs enough punch in terms of flavor and presentation that it’s good enough to serve to company. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Let me be the first to sing the praises of this dish: I love chicken milanese.
It checks all the boxes for me. Simple enough for a weeknight? Yes. Something my entire family can enjoy? Absolutely. Dinner party worthy? YEP. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.
What is milanese?
I’m so glad you asked! It’s very similar to a parmigiana, except that it’s pan-fried in less oil. It’s a breaded thin cut of meat common in Italy — in this case chicken — coated in breadcrumbs or panko, and fried until golden brown. Honestly, I don’t add very much oil to the pan, and then I finish the whole thing in the oven, so it never feels heavy or greasy.
Can I substitute something in place of chicken cutlets?
Totally. Other common preparations of milanese include beef, pork, veal chops, or even eggplant (an absolute favorite for me and my hubby!).
How long does this recipe take to prep?
I wish I could say this was ready in 10 minutes or less, but when you’re breading anything, it takes time. If you’ve got your ingredients mise en placed (prepped and ready to go before you begin cooking), you should be able to breeze through the breading process in 15 minutes, start to finish.
Trust me, this dish is work a little extra effort. If you’re like me, you’re always searching for new twists on how to serve chicken. This one is WORTH IT, pinky promise.
What to serve with chicken milanese:
I always, always, always serve this with mixed spring greens and fennel, dressed very lightly with olive oil and kosher salt. That’s it! It’s beyond simple, but exactly what I crave with pan-fried chicken. A squeeze of lemon juice on top of the cooked chicken is the perfect finishing touch.
If you’re craving carbs with this recipe, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, or couscous would be lovely and not too labor intensive (remember, we’re making this simple enough for a weeknight!).
Can this recipe be frozen?
I always enjoy serving this fresh, but yes you can pre-cook the chicken cutlets, let them cool completely, and then store in an airtight container in your freezer until needed. To reheat, simply place on a baking sheet and heat at 350 F until warmed up and crispy again, about 10-12 minutes.
Regardless of whether the chicken is cooked fresh or reheated, don’t toss the greens and fennel in olive oil until just before you serve! Otherwise, they’ll wilt and look very sad.
Chicken Milanese is nothing new — pan-fried chicken cutlets, seasoned with breadcrumbs or panko and parmesan cheese, usually served with a light green salad on top. In an attempt to elevate this classic dish I threw thinly sliced fennel on top. Game changer.
Fennel is essentially the vegetable version of licorice, which I actually abhor. I find the flavor overpowering. To prevent this, I soaked thin slices of fennel in ice water while I prepped the rest of the dish — for a total of maybe 10 minutes? — and the end result was perfection.
Guys, give this crispy chicken milanese a chance and I pinky promise it’ll become a favorite in your household, just as it has in ours. Elevated weeknight classics for the win!
If you make Weeknight Chicken Milanese, please let me know by leaving a review below!
For more simple weeknight meals, check out the following recipes:
Chicken Milanese with fennel salad
- 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs (fronds reserved)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage (chopped)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 6 chicken cutlets
- olive oil
- 3 cups mixed salad greens
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut off the stems and fronds off the fennel (reserve the greens!) and remove any bruised outer layers. Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and cut out the tough part of the core. Thinly slice fennel (mandoline is great, but I use a knife) and place in ice water while you prep the remaining ingredients.
- In a small, shallow container or bowl, combine all-purpose flour with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl to combine. Combine panko, parmesan cheese, sage, and 1 tablespoon salt in a separate dish.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Dredge each cutlet in flour on both sides. Move chicken to the eggs, turning to coat on, then shake off any excess. Move cutlets to panko mixture and coat completely. When oil is hot, transfer chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown, but not burned. Flip and cook another 3 minutes.
- Move pan to the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked through. Chicken is safe to eat at 165 F, but you can remove it from the oven when it’s reached 150 or 155 F — it will continue to cook while it rests. (If you’re making a larger portion, move chicken cutlets directly from the skillet to a baking sheet with a cooling rack on top. The chicken will stay crisp as long as it’s not directly on the baking sheet).
- While chicken is resting, toss salad greens with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium bowl to coat; season with salt and pepper.
- Drain the fennel and pat dry on a paper towel to remove any excess water. Toss with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat.
- Season chicken with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, then sprinkle each cutlet with a pinch of malden sea salt. Mound salad atop chicken, then top with plenty of sliced fennel. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.