Carla Lalli Music’s Chicken Cutlets with Spicy Coconut Dressing

June 17, 2019
Summer, Grilling, Salads, Healthy, B-Team Recipes

It’s a known fact that we B-Teamers love cookbooks. They are piled high in our office and you can bet we’re especially excited when we get our hands on newly released cookbooks from our favorite chefs, bakers and bloggers. Most recently, we received Carla Lalli Music’s Where Cooking Begins, and
it took us no time at all to dive right in and choose our first dish to recreate: Chicken Cutlets with Spicy Coconut Dressing. Carla’s recipe is so simple, flavorful and delicious that we hardly changed a thing. We added homemade pickled onions for more acid and a vibrant pop of color along with crisp Kirby cucumbers from our local market. We also swapped iceberg lettuce for butter lettuce and because Bobby is the grill master, we cooked the thinly pounded chicken on a cast-iron grill pan. The char marks give this dish a nice new layer, but you really can’t go wrong cooking this just as Carla does in her book. This easy, healthy recipe is one that we’ll be making all summer long.

Chicken Cutlets with Spicy Coconut Dressing
Recipe from Carla Lalli Music of Bon Appétit

Serves 4

Pickled Red Onions
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place onions in a bowl. Combine lime juice, vinegar, water, sugar and salt in saucepan and boil until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

2. Pour the cooled mixture over the onions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours. The lime juice makes the onions turn a vibrant hot pink color which we absolutely love.

Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Spicy Coconut Dressing
1/2 jalapeño, Fresno, or serrano chile, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 tablespoons coconut cream from 1 small can unsweetened 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 butter lettuce
1 Kirby cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup pickled onions, recipe above
Handful of 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. (We used butter lettuce). The 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 to ½-inch thickness. This will shorten cooking time and creates more surface area for crisping. Season cutlets on both sides with salt.

3. Place a grill pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add the oil and when it shimmers, place cutlets carefully on to the pan and cook, undisturbed, until well browned on underside and completely cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4. Add lettuce and cilantro to the bowl with the 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.