You can buy these ready-breaded if you like, but bear in mind they cost more than the DIY variety and, frankly, don’t taste so good. Freshly made is best and they are always popular with family and friends. Ideal with pasta and tomato sauce (again, homemade triumphs by a mile over the store-made or bottled kinds – see recipe below)
The tastiest result (not necessarily the healthiest) for my bread-crumbed escalope is produced using home-made coarsely ground breadcrumbs. I used to find Pitta bread perfect for this, but a chunk of a less-than-fresh baguette also does well. The other day I used home-baked wholemeal bread crumbs and they were good, too.
Ingredients for Four Servings
Two good sized chicken fillets carefully sliced in half to give two thin escalopes. You may also beat smaller fillets flat if you wish, or flattened boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or thinly sliced and beaten pieces of pork fillet.
1 generous cup-full of home-made breadcrumbs
25 cl oil for frying
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp flour
1. In your food processor put broken pieces of the bread and make quite coarse breadcrumbs.
2. In a shallow dish put the breadcrumbs and mix them with salt, pepper and a tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
3. Beat four chicken escalopes flat and dip them in flour.
4. Next, dip the floured escalopes into well beaten egg and make sure they are covered all over.
5. Take the egged escalopes and roll them in the seasoned breadcrumbs, making sure they are covered all over.
6. Gently fry on both sides until golden and cooked through. Serve.
Basic Tomato Sauce
This sauce can be used for all kinds of dishes. It freezes well (the little terra cotta pots often used for Deli products like olives are a very good way to store 2 – 3 portions). It can be made in any quantity in the proportion of about 1 onion to 3 tomatoes. This is enough to be going on with…
2 largish onions (about 150 g / 5 oz), peeled and finely chopped 450 g / 1 lb of ripe red tomatoes, coarsely chopped 3-4 good cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped Sprig of thyme and several bay leaves Salt and pepper 1-2 tbsps. dry white wine (or dry sherry) 1 flat tsp. sugar A pinch of chili pepper if you want a slightly hot touch 4-5 tbsps. olive oil
1. In a large heavy pot, heat the oil and fry onions and garlic until transparent.
2. Add herbs, sugar and the tomatoes.
3. Cover, stir well and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
4. Add wine and seasonings. Simmer for a further 15 minutes.
If you want a thick sauce, remove the lid and simmer away liquid— watch out for burning, though! You can play about with the ingredients to your heart’s content: more tomatoes, less onion, more garlic, no wine or sherry (or more), fresh herbs like basil, yummy! For a tomato coulis, remove mixture from pan and rub through a sieve or a Mouli. Chuck into food processor if you don’t mind the pips. You can skin and de-seed the tomatoes before cooking if the seeds get into your teeth.