Springtime is when all the tender young green vegetables are out in force after a long winter of soups, stews, and braises. There’s something about seeing that first bunch of radishes show up at the market that really makes it clear that your winter coat is going to stay in a box for the next stretch of months, and the time for sitting on patios and lazing in the sun is fast approaching. When vegetables are in season they really don’t need all that much finessing to be delicious—some salt and pepper, a splash of nice olive oil, a squeeze of lemon. But as nice as those things are, they’re still not exactly a whole dinner. You need some heft too—a fried egg or some beans, a nice piece of fish. Or maybe you go in the other direction and make yourself a pan-fried chicken cutlet.
That’s the smart thing behind this recipe for Chicken Cutlets with Spring Vegetable Salad and Herb Vinaigrette: You have all the beauty of fresh, in-season vegetables tied together with something heartier, the equivalent of getting a big salad and french fries at a restaurant. The balance is pleasing, and the way that the crispy golden cutlet balances out the acid in the vinaigrette is exactly why having something fried paired with something fresh works so well.
Easy never tasted so awesome.
The recipe here calls for radishes, Persian cucumber, green beans, new potatoes, and sugar snap peas, alongside Romaine lettuce and baby arugala. But salads exist as improvisations—whatever looks right at the market is what you should go for, especially if it’s tender and green. Thinly sliced raw asparagus would be great here, or even shaved brussels sprouts. You can mix up the lettuces if you’d prefer baby kale or spinach, and swap in a larger waxy potato cut up into sections of the babies. Don’t feel constrained by seasonal possibilities—let them guide you.
As for the chicken, the trickiest part here can be the breading. Don’t be afraid to double dip the cutlet in the egg mixture and pat more panko crumbs on it if there are bare spots, and remember to brush off extra flour to help the egg stick. But it shouldn’t hold you up too much, and soon you’ll have the perfect between-seasons meal. Welcome the summer with the fresh vegetables, and salute the cozy food of winter with the cutlet. Every part of it is just right.
Get the recipe for Chicken Cutlets with Spring Vegetable Salad and Herb Vinaigrette.
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