2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed, breasts trimmed of excess fat and halved horizontally.
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
3 large egg whites
2 tbsp minced chives (optional)
6 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
4 tsp olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges
TO HALVE CHICKEN BREASTS: Popping them in the freezer for 10 minutes or so will help them to firm up, so they're not as squishy and liable to slip out of your grasp. To halve, place the chicken breasts on a cutting board, lay a hand on top to keep it in place, and - with your knife parallel to the cutting board, work it straight through the middle of the breast horizontally from one end to another.
Yes, there are grating styles used on the cheese. The first is very fine, so it blends completely with the flour - that's your base, for the egg to stick to. The second is coarser, and that's the final crust; the small amount of flour is added just to help this layer stick to the egg.
Halve and pound the breasts in the morning and keep them wrapped in the fridge. Same thing with the grated Parm. Then, in the evening, all you need to do is mix, bread and fry.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees.
Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even 1/4-inch thickness.
Pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Set wire rack on rimmed baking sheet.
Whisk together 1/4 cup flour and grated Parmesan cheese in pie plate.
In medium bowl, whisk egg whites and chives (if using) together until slightly foamy.
In second pie plate, combine 2 cups shredded Parmesan and remaining 1 tbsp flour.
Using tongs and working with 1 cutlet at a time, coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess.
Transfer chicken to egg-white mixture; coat evenly and let excess run off.
Coat chicken with shredded Parmesan mixture, pressing gently so cheese adheres.
Place on wire rack.
Repeat for all cutlets.
Heat 2 tsp oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Place 2 cutlets in skillet and reduce heat to medium.
Cook until cheese is pale golden brown, about 3 minutes.
While chicken is cooking, use thin nonstick spatula to gently separate any cheesy edges that have melted together.
Carefully flip cutlets and continue to cook until cheese is pale golden brown on second side and meat is no longer pink in center, about 3 minutes.
Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven.
Wipe out skillet with paper towel and return to medium heat.
Add remaining 2 tsp oil and cook remaining cutlets.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges.