A crisp chicken cutlet topped with sautéed broccoli rape and nestled between two slices of grainy toasted bread is as Italian as any panino gets. This is my mother¹s favorite sandwich, and mine too.
It is a satisfying diversion from the more predictable lunchtime sandwiches like ham and cheese and can quickly turn itself into a supper entree when paired with a green salad and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
It can also be served without the bread, in which case, I would definitely add a slice of melted Provolone cheese over the top! With or without the bread, this is a winner. Saving time. Keep a container of toasted bread crumbs in the refrigerator. Use egg beaters instead of cracking eggs and buy thinly sliced cutlets.
4 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion diced
1 pound broccoli rape, stemmed, rinsed, dried, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Grinding black pepper
6 oil cured black olives, pitted and diced (optional)
1/3 cup King Arthur Unbleached, All-Purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Grinding black pepper
4 thinly sliced chicken cutlets (1 pound)
1 large egg, slightly beaten or egg beater equivalent
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
8 slices good quality toasted bread
4 slices provolone cheese, optional
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-inch sauté pan. Stir in the onions and cook until softened. Stir in the broccoli rape and pepper flakes. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes or until the broccoli rape wilts. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Transfer the broccoli rape to a small bowl. Stir in the olives. Cover and keep warm. Wipe out the pan and return to the stovetop
Pour the flour in paper bag with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Coat each cutlet in the flour and transfer them to a plate. Coat each cutlet with the egg, then coat in bread crumbs. Set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan and when it is hot, brown the cutlets quickly on each side. Transfer them to a dish as they cook.
Top each of four bread slices with a cutlet and spread the broccoli rape on top of each. Top with the remaining bread slices. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.
Variation: Top the broccoli rape with slices of Provolone or mozzarella cheese and allow to melt before removing from the pan. Serve on a plate without the bread or just indulge in a total sandwich experience.
This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA PRONTO by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.
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