Chicken Parmesan - Detail - © unknown via

Classic Dishes: Chicken Parmesan

Here’s another great Italian dish that home cooks often avoid because they think it’s too exotic or complicated. I think it’s a great alternative to the usual Roasted or Fried Chicken and carries with it a nice ‘fine dining’ cachet. For the cook, it’s quick and easy and pretty much foolproof…

Chicken Parmesan - © unknown via recipeshubs.comChicken Parmesan over Spaghetti. This version eliminates the pounding out of cutlets.
But using an unflattened breast lengthens cooking time and works best
with oven-baking rather than pan-frying.

What you need…

Here’s your ingredient list:

4 Chicken Breasts (boned and skinned)
2 cups / 300 ml Tomato Sauce (either your own home-made, or your fave bottled sauce)
8 thick slices of Provolone or Mozzarella Cheese
1/’2 cup Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheesed (for topping)
1/2 cup Fresh Basil, chopped or torn coarsely (for garnish)
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. ground Coriander
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil (for frying)

For Breading station:

1 cup / 250 ml Flour
1 cup / 250 ml Fine Bread Crumbs
3 Large Eggs
1/2 cup / 125 ml Grated Cheese (Parmesan or Romano)
Salt and Pepper

For the Base:

Prepare four servings of Pasta or Rice of your choice and set aside, keeping warm, until serving time. You may want to dunk your Pasts in boiling water to refresh it just before serving.

What you do…

For the Chicken:

Pound out the Chicken Breasts into nice cutlets about 3/8 in. / 1 cm thick. Dry with a paper towel and sprinkle generously with Salt and Pepper, Coriander and Cumin.

Next, set up a standard Breading Station with the Eggs, Flour, Bread Crumbs. Add a generous tablespoon each of Salt and Pepper to the flour.Add the allotted Grated Cheese to the crumbs and combine thoroughly.

Flour, Egg and Crumb the breasts. I  like to go back after the first Crumbing and give them another quick dunk in the Eggs, followed by another dunk in the Crumbs. I call it ‘double dipping’. You’ll call it crunchy and delicious!

Fry the Breaded Breasts in Olive Oil over Medium Heat, just so the Chicken cooks through and the Breading turns crunchy and golden brown. Alternately, you can bake the Chicken Breasts at 375 F until the Chicken is cooked through.You may not get as brown a crust as if you had fried, but it will be crispy!

For the sauce:

Heat up your prepared Sauce in a saucepan, adding any spices, Garlic or Herbs you want, to elevate it above the ordinary. I also like to add some finely-diced Fresh Sweet or Red Onion and some finely-diced Pepperoncini for zing. Let it simmer gently, covered until serving time.

To finish the dish:

Place the Breasts on a sheet pan and ladle on a nice coating of the Sauce on each. Top the Sauce with two slices of Cheese and place back in the oven, under the Broiler, to melt the Cheese. That shouldn’t take more than a minute or so.

To serve, scoop a generous serving of Rice or Pasta onto each plate and top each with a Chicken Breast. Top each Breast with Grated Parm or Romano and a few shreds of torn Basil Leaf.

And that’s about it…

One thing that makes my Chicken Parm different from the others is the Parm in the Bread Crumbs. Once you’ve tried it that way, you’ll never go back! And don’t skip the step where you customize your Sauce. That can really make the dish your own…

~ Maggie J.