Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Cauliflower Puree and Arugula

by Cindi SutterFounder of The Spirited Table®-by Rhoda Boone - Epicurious January 2015

These crunchy, salty, pretzel-coated chicken cutlets are lightened up by creamy cauliflower purée (a great substitute for mashed potatoes) and a crisp arugula salad. It all adds up to the perfect weeknight meal.

Serves 4

Vegetable oil, for frying (about 3 cups)
3 cups lightly crushed salted pretzel rods (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Four 6-ounce chicken cutlets, 1/4-inch thick, pounded if necessary (1 1/2 pounds total)
1 1/2 lbs cauliflower, chopped (1 small head cauliflower)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, or more to taste
4 cups arugula or baby spinach
1 lemon, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving


  1. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Fill a medium saucepan with 1/4 inch of water; add cauliflower and garlic and cover the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until florets are easily pierced with a paring knife, about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat until it registers 350°F on a deep-fat thermometer, or until a pinch of flour sizzles when sprinkled into the oil.
  3. While oil is heating, add pretzels to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until some crumbs are ground fine but some are still coarse pea-sized pieces. Spread pretzel crumbs on a large plate or another rimmed baking sheet. Wipe out bowl of food processor and reserve for cauliflower pureé.
  4. Place flour on another large plate or rimmed baking sheet and use a whisk to gently blend in 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until blended. Working with one cutlet at a time, coat with flour on both sides, then dip in egg (allowing excess to drip off), then dredge in pretzel crumbs, pressing them to adhere.
  5. Working in batches if necessary, fry cutlets until golden brown and fully cooked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to wire rack to drain, and season them with salt.
  6. Once cauliflower and garlic are cooked and drained, add them to the bowl of the food processor along with the butter, milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Purée until smooth, adding more milk if necessary. Season to taste.
  7. To serve, divide arugula among four plates. Season with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil. Divide cauliflower purée among the plates, and top with chicken cutlets.
  8. Do ahead:
  9. The cutlets can be breaded and refrigerated up to 2 hours in advance of frying. The cauliflower puree can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance; reheat before serving.