This is a perfect weeknight dinner option that you can change up based on your craving or what you find at the market. The pairing works because it combines a rich, juicy piece of protein with a cooling, zingy, fresh crunchy salad.
Technique tip: Don't even try to get dark brown color on both sides of the cutlet—cooking them for that long will cause them to dry out. Instead, get a great sear on the first side that hits the pan, then turn them over just to kiss the second side.
Swap option: Thin, boneless pork chops for the chicken. Torn savoy cabbage leaves or romaine hearts instead of the iceberg.
- 1/2 red jalapeño, Fresno or serrano chile, finely grated
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 4 tablespoons coconut cream from 1 small can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, leaves torn into palm-size pieces
- 1 handful cilantro leaves and tender stems, torn
1. In a large bowl, combine chile, garlic, ginger, coconut cream and lime juice. Season with salt and stir to combine. Stir in coconut and taste dressing: It should be fairly tangy, spicy, and salty to balance the mild iceberg. Dressing may seize and seem very thick, but it will loosen up when tossed with the salad.
2. Working with one thigh at a time, place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound out to 1/2-inch thickness. This will shorten cooking time and creates more surface area for crisping. Season cutlets on both sides with salt.
3. Place a 10- or 12-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Add oil and when it shimmers, place cutlets carefully into pan and cook, undisturbed, until well browned on underside and almost completely cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and cook for about 1 minute on second side. Transfer cutlets to a platter or two dinner plates.
4. Add iceberg and cilantro to bowl with dressing and toss to coat. Taste the lettuce and add more salt and/or lime juice if needed. Serve cutlets and salad with lime wedges for squeezing over.