I’m not a huge fan of chicken breast fillets but one favourite way of cooking them is beaten thin into escalopes, giving them the f.e.b treatment – dipping in flour, egg and bread crumb – then quickly frying to a crisp to just cook the chicken. I sometimes smear the chicken with Dijon mustard first (Dijon Chicken Fingers) or add grated Parmesan to the crumb and this recipe is a further elaboration. It’s indulgent bliss; the crisp escalope topped with a soft-fried egg garnished with a muddle of salty anchovy, green olives and capers. There is nothing fancy about the presentation – I forgot to take a photo, so my picture is a refined, elaborate wiener schnitzel from the first edition of The Prawn Cocktail Years (cooked by Simon Hopkinson and photographed by Jason Lowe) – but rest assured that eking out the egg so most mouthfuls of the crisp and creamy, salty and sour textures get a share is part of the fun of the dish.
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 15 min
2 chicken breast fillets
3 large egg
150g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp sunflower or similar oil
8 pimiento-stuffed green olives
8 anchovy fillets
1 tbsp capers
Unfurl the chicken, removing skin and any fat as necessary. Pat dry with kitchen paper and working on one at a time, place on a large piece of kitchen parchment. Cover with a second piece. Use a rolling pin to gently but firmly bash the chicken, turning regularly and continuing until half as large and as evenly thin as you can manage; the larger and thinner the better. Remove the top sheet, dust the chicken with flour, shake off excess turn and repeat. Transfer to a large plate (I used the removed sheet of parchment) and repeat the process with the second fillet. Whisk 1 egg in a shallow bowl and spread the crumbs on a large plate/chopping board. Using tongs, swipe one chicken piece at a time through the egg and then press into the crumbs, transferring to a plate. Either chill covered with a stretch of clingfilm or cook immediately by heating 2 tbsp oil in a spacious frying pan over a medium heat. Cook, probably one fillet at a time, for a couple of minutes until you can see crusty edges, turn, repeat then lower the temperature and cook gently for a couple of minutes a side until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain and repeat with the second fillet. Keep warm on warmed plates. While the chicken cooks, halve the olives round their middles and halve the anchovy lengthways. Decorate or scatter over the capers, anchovy and olives, then quickly heat the last of the oil in a frying pan and fry the two eggs. Place an egg over the chicken and serve.