Unfortunately, I can’t claim this as my own recipe (a few slight variations)……Donna Hay does it again! However, I can say that I used my own homemade pesto because I just don’t think the store bought variety measures up. I served this to a couple of girlfriends who, from their moans of delight seemed pretty impressed. Crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside breast fillet schnitties topped with a subtly spiced tomato sauce, melted bocconcini and delicious basil pesto. Pub fare at its absolute finest!!
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 30 Minutes $$ Low to Medium Budget
Oil for frying
4 chicken breast fillets, fat and tenderloins removed (Save the tenderloins for a curry!)
2 tbs of plain flour
2 eggs, whisked with a tablespoon of water
2 cups of panko crumbs*
Sea salt and pepper
For the sauce:
2 x 400gm tins of cherry tomatoes (whole or diced is fine if you can’t get them)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of vinocotto*
2 tsp of chilli flakes (less if you like it less spicy)
For the topping:
16 baby bocconcini balls (4 per schnitty)
2/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan
4 tbs of basil pesto http://emsfoodforfriends.com.au/basil-pesto/
Set yourself up with a little production line. Place the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl and place the breadcrumbs on another flat plate.
Place a breast fillet on a chopping board and holding it down with the flat of your hand, slice through the centre crossways, leaving about 1cm from the edge so that you can fold it out into one large fillet. Cover it with a piece of clingwrap and lightly pound with a rolling pin so that the breast is an even thickness all the way through. Repeat with the remaining breasts.
Lightly dust the breast fillets in the flour, shaking off any excess and dunk in the egg mixture. Transfer from the egg mixture to the crumbs and pressing down with the tips of your fingers make sure they are evenly coated on both sides. This whole procedure makes a bit of a mess but is completely worth it!
Place the breast fillets in the fridge for half an hour if you have time. This helps to set the crumbs to the meat.
Place the tomatoes, lemon zest, vinocotto and chilli flakes in a medium sized mixing bowl and break up the tomatoes a little with the back of a fork. Set aside.
Pre heat the oven to 200°C. Heat a large frying pan with approximately 1/2cm of oil. I use rice bran oil as it has a high smoke point. To check wether the oil is hot enough, toss in a couple of bread crumbs and if they start sizzling immediately, it is ready. Cook the chicken, in batches (you may need to add oil after each batch) on each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crispy. Place on a large tray, lined with baking paper. Spoon the tomato sauce over the top of the cooked schnitzels in a rather haphazard fashion. Sprinkle over the grated parmesan and tear the bocconcini balls up and spread them on top. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes and then switch your oven to grill (on high). Grill the chicken for approximately 5 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the tomatoes are starting to blister.
Remove the chicken from the oven and dollop over the basil pesto. Serve the schnitzel with a side of steamed green beans or other vegetables or salad of your choice.
*Panko crumbs can be found in the Asian section of the supermarket. Vinocotto can be found in gourmet food shops or online. If it is impossible to find you could substitute 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a couple of teaspoons of sugar.