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Playing Brazilian Chicken Cutlets with Raw Tropical Sauce


  • 8 to 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1/2 cup (a large handful) parsley, chopped
  • A few dashes hot sauce
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large, ripe mango, pitted and chopped
  • 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (about a palmful) cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Few dashes nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more as needed


Serves: 4 servings


Preheat oven to 250F.

Make a paste for the cutlets by placing the garlic into a bowl with a small pinch of salt. Using a spoon, mash the salt and garlic together into a paste. Add in the lemon juice, parsley, hot sauce and some freshly ground black pepper, and reserve.

Flatten the chicken breasts into cutlets by butterflying each piece. Open each breast up and pound them out by placing them into a large zipper bag one at a time with a small amount of water. Seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as you can. Pound the chicken with a small, cast iron skillet until it's evenly thin. As you finish each breast, place them into another large plastic zipper bag or mixing bowl.

Once all the breasts are pounded out, add the garlic paste to the zipper bag or bowl and toss the chicken around to coat it evenly. Marinate for about 10 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the raw sauce by combining the mango, plum tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, some salt and freshly ground black pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Toss everything to combine and set aside until you're ready to serve.

When the chicken is done marinating, set up three pans on the counter. In one pan add the flour. In the second pan, beat the eggs with a couple teaspoons of water. In the third pan, combine the breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, nutmeg and lemon zest.

Bread the cutlets by first tossing them in the flour, then dipping them in the beaten egg, then coating them in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing on each breast lightly to make sure everything sticks. Reserve the coated breasts on a plate.

Place a large skillet over medium high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once hot, cook the cutlets in batches until golden brown on each side and cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side, adding more oil to the pan as needed between batches. As each cutlet finishes cooking, transfer them to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while the others finish.

Serve the cutlets with the raw sauce over top.