Schnitzel is often pounded to a thickness of 1/8 inch. But, depending on your mood, and your level of laziness, you can get away with buying thin cut chicken breasts, which run about 1⁄2 inch thick. For 1⁄2 inch thick, cook for 3 minutes on one side (the presentation side), and 2 minutes on the next. For 1/8 inch thick, cook 3 to 4 minutes total.
I like watercress most when it’s undressed. [Don’t make it weird.] If you’re feeling gregarious, you can toss it with a tablespoon or two of olive or canola oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of kosher salt.
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/8-inch thickness or not! 1/3 cup (50 g) flour 1 egg (55 g) 3⁄4 cup (75 g) panko Canola oil, as needed 2 teaspoons (5 g) chili powder, optional Kosher salt, to taste Smoked sea salt, as needed (if you can’t find smoked sea salt, use regular sea salt) Lemon wedges for garnish
For the salad: 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice Salt, to taste 1 bunch watercress
This is a great dish to practice your mise en place. Arrange three bowls on your work surface. Add the flour to the first, the egg to the second, and the panko to the third.
Prepare another plate to hold the dredged chicken.
Get a skillet—or, if you want to contain more of the splattering oil because you’re super lazy like me, a large Dutch oven—all set up. And by all set up, I just mean put it on the stove.
Don’t forget to line a plate with paper towels and set it near the stove to hold the finished schnitzels.
Finally, like an assembly line, dredge the chicken through the flour, then egg, then panko, then the holding plate.
Add oil to the skillet or Dutch oven and warm over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken. Work in batches. You don’t want to crowd them. If you pounded them to 1/8-inch thick, cook for 2 minutes on each side. If the chicken breasts are 1⁄2-inch thick, cook for 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the next.
After cooking, move them to the paper towel–lined plate and sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt. I like to include a few lemon wedges on the plates so folks can decide for themselves how much lemon to add.
For the salad
Whisk together the oil, lemon, and salt to taste in the base of a large bowl. Add the watercress and toss to dress.