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Chicken Cutlets With Burst-Tomato Sauce

Chicken Cutlets With Tomato Sauce on a white plate
Photograph by Isa Zapata, food styling by Pearl Jones, prop styling by Emma Fishman
  • Total Time

    45 minutes

Bright, punchy, and fragrant, this compote is a versatile way to use up a surplus of cherry tomatoes—whether you’re working with the juiciest bounty of peak summer or a few less-flavorful off-season pints. Whole spices bloomed in olive oil, bold aromatics, and a dash of red wine vinegar turn warm burst tomatoes into a sauce you’ll want to spoon on everything from fish to pork chops to grain bowls. Here it’s draped over a craggy chicken cutlet seared to golden perfection.

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What you’ll need


4 servings


cup plus 6 Tbsp. (or more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided


tsp. fennel seeds


tsp. mustard seeds


cup all-purpose flour


skinless, boneless chicken breasts, patted dry

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

lb. cherry tomatoes


garlic cloves, finely grated


2"-piece ginger, peeled, finely grated


Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Cilantro leaves with tender stems (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add 2 tsp. fennel seeds and 2 tsp. mustard seeds; cook, swirling pan, until fragrant and oil around seeds is sizzling, about 1 minute. Transfer spiced oil to a medium heatproof bowl.

    Step 2

    Place ¼ cup all-purpose flour on a large plate. Working one at a time, place 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, patted dry, between 2 large sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound on a surface to ¼" thick. Season cutlets all over with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, then press into flour to lightly coat on both sides.

    Step 3

    Heat 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Working in 2 batches and adding more oil to pan between batches if needed, cook cutlets until golden underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook on other side until cooked through, 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

    Step 4

    Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in same skillet over medium-high. Arrange 1½ lb. cherry tomatoes in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until blistered underneath, 1–2 minutes. Season with a big pinch of salt and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until softened, 1–2 minutes. Using a potato masher or spoon, carefully press down on tomatoes to burst and release seeds. Cook, stirring, 30 seconds, then transfer tomato sauce to bowl with spiced oil. Stir in 3 garlic cloves, finely grated, one 2"-piece ginger, peeled, finely grated, and 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar; season with more salt if needed.

    Step 5

    Place a chicken cutlet on each plate. Spoon some tomato sauce over and top with cilantro leaves with tender stems.

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  • So good! I used boneless thighs and just cooked them a little longer on each side, came out perfectly. This sauce is sublime, as someone else said, would taste good on anything! I strained the seeds out of the oil, I think that is what you are supposed to do, even though the recipe did not say that. First time in my life I have used whole mustard seed! What have I been missing??? Lol

    • Donna

    • Hartford, CT

    • 9/2/2023

  • This is so good! Super easy and delicious. The biggest labor of this is flattening out the chicken, but once that's done it goes quick. The chicken method is the same as chicken piccata, such a versatile base recipe to have in your brain and to add whatever sauce you like to. I had trouble pairing this with a side, I did a simple vinaigrette salad but I think some charred green veggies on the grill or under the broiler would be great, like broccoli rabe or brussel sprouts or something. For the question in the comments about the spice oil, it says to mix in after the tomatoes are done cooking. The flavor of the sauce is amazing, I hesitated at some of those flavors, as my go-to when making a tomato sauce like this are red pepper flakes and oregano and butter, but the mustard and ginger created this spicy and complex flavor that was awesome. I also love that this is dairy free but has a great complexity and enough rich fattiness from the oil to satisfy those who aren't dairy free. So good!

    • gmckenzie

    • Portland, OR

    • 8/30/2023

  • To the person asking where to use the spiced oil, in the recipe it says you add the finished burst tomato sauce to the reserved bowl of spiced oil.

    • Anonymous

    • 8/30/2023

  • Fantastic, just follow the recipe. Easy peasy.

    • Bob

    • Earth

    • 8/24/2023

  • A recipe like this is exactly why I subscribe to Bon Appetit. This was so flavorful and so easy to whip together, especially on a weeknight. I took some liberties in that I used whole ground mustard (and ground fennel: both ~half of the called for amount) in place of the mustard seed since I didn't have any. Local summer tomatoes really elevated this but could see it being perfectly delicious with the hydroponic stuff in the winter. Could use the sauce on so much: toasty bread, fish, chicken cooked any number of ways.

    • Anonymous

    • NYC

    • 8/22/2023

  • Where do you use the spices oil? First step asks to make it, then never references where to use it.

    • Lisdan26

    • Orlando, Fl

    • 8/20/2023