Way, way back before the madness of the holidays, I mentioned I would be posting my version of Chicken Parmesan “soon”. I should have said later! Oops….
I never order Chicken Parmesan when out to dinner. Why you ask? Well, I normally find it over breaded and over sauced. It becomes a game of Where’s Waldo in finding or tasting the “Parmesan” in the Chicken Parmesan. I much rather save the somewhat indulgent meal for my own table. I don’t really consider this a recipe…more like a process. I use a three step dip method for the chicken [flour, egg/milk, breadcrumbs]; browned in olive oil on stove; finished in oven with light tomato sauce and cheese. Simple – quick – flavorful…great components for a weeknight meal.
To save time, I normally purchase chicken cutlets, as opposed to the whole boneless skinless chicken breasts. They still require a little pounding out to get a maximum ¼-inch thickness, but with less effort than the entire breast. To get the maximum “Parmesan” flavor, I mix some of the cheese with the bread crumbs, as well as a topping on the chicken.
What you’ll need [all measurements approximate]:
Chicken [I used about 1 pound of cutlets]
½ cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
¼ cup milk
½ cup dried bread crumbs [Your own or purchased. I get mine from an Italian bakery]
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese – real Parmesan! – no green can 😉
½+ cup grated Parmesan [not quite as fine of a grate for topping the cutlets]
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
2+ Tablespoons olive oil [for browning the cutlets]
2 cups tomato sauce [see note below]
Making Chicken Parmesan:
•Pound out the chicken breasts/cutlets between 2 pieces of wax paper to about ¼-inch thickness.
•Heat oven to 375°F. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with about 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil.
•Set up 3 shallow bowls or pie plates on your work surface: bowl 1 – flour seasoned with salt and pepper; bowl 2 – eggs beaten with the milk; and bowl 3 – breadcrumbs and finely grated Parmesan cheese mixed well.
•In an assembly line fashion, dip each piece of chicken in flour…egg mixture…bread crumbs. Repeat until all pieces are breaded.
•Brown the chicken, a few pieces at a time in the hot skillet. It only takes a couple of minutes per side if the chicken is evenly pounded out. Add more olive oil as needed, continue until all the pieces are browned. Place cooked pieces on an ungreased baking sheet.
•Top each piece of chicken with a tablespoon or so of the tomato sauce, then about ½ Tablespoon of the grated Parmesan. Finally, top each piece with a thin slice of the fresh mozzarella. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted to ooey gooey goodness.
•Serve topped with additional freshly grated Parmesan and tomato sauce as desired.
Note: for the tomato sauce I use a 1 quart jar of my canned tomatoes [a purchased 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes works too] that I puree in the blender. I add that to a skillet of chopped onion and garlic softened in olive oil. I then season with salt, pepper, a ¼ cup or so of red wine, a pinch of sugar and sometimes a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Cook it down by about ½ over a low simmer. Add tomato paste [½ Tablespoon at a time] if too thin.