This dish is a variation on Eggplant Parmigiana. While Eggplant Parmigiana is quite common in Italy, particularly in the south, Chicken Parmigiana seems to have more of a grasp in America where you can find it on almost any Italian-American restaurant's menu.
When I ask Ryan if he has any requests for dinners that week, he invariably shouts, "Chicken Parm!" It is his favorite meal, and the first dish that I ever cooked for him. In fact, Ryan loved it so much when I made it for him that he volunteered me to cook it for his family the first time I met them. Wasn't that sweet of him? Anyway, everyone loved it, and it even gained me the compliment from his dad, "You keep cooking like this and Ryan's going to end up looking like me", while he patted his stomach. So, whether you're trying to impress someone or you are just making a nice meal for your loved ones, Chicken Parmigiana is a great way to go.
Last week my roommate in Italy just happened to email me a picture of us cooking Chicken Parmigiana in our apartment in Italy. Thanks, Kate! (We didn't have covers for our pots, so we had to improvise.)
-Makes 4 pieces-
4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups marinara sauce (you did make your sauce, right?)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into thin slices
- Place each slice of chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat tenderizer, pound out the chicken until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
- Set up a breading station: 1 plate of flour, 1 bowl of egg, 1 plate of breadcrumbs. Dredge each piece of chicken in flour and shake off the excess. Then, dip it in the egg, and then dredge it in the breadcrumbs.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken (be careful - the oil will splatter) and cook until they are golden brown. Flip, and do the same on the other side until cooked all the way through. Since the pieces are thin, it should be about 3-4 minutes per side. (Don't worry if the chicken isn't cooked through - we'll work on that later. This is just to get a nice golden crust.)
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Spoon a layer of sauce onto the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan. Transfer the chicken to the pan on top of the layer of sauce. Use your remaining sauce to cover each piece of chicken.
- Bake, covered, for about 30 minutes. This will give the chicken time to absorb the flavors of the sauce.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Cover each piece of chicken with the slices of mozzarella. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Serve with a side of angel hair pasta.
Ryan's rating of Chicken Parmigiana - 5 (more, if he could).
1 - Awful. If you make this again I'll shove a fork in my eye.
2 - Meh. It's not my favorite, but I won't threaten self-harm if it shows up again.
3 - Good. I wouldn't feel forced to order a pizza behind your back.
4 - Great! I will fight you for the leftovers.
5 - Love it! Make it again tomorrow. Or immediately and I will bathe in it.