Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chicken Parmigiana

Thursday, January 29, 2009
I know, I know. I should be reviewing last night's Top Chef episode instead of preparing to write about the amazingly delicious Chicken Parmigiana I made two nights ago. I should be mulling over which of Fabio's charming complaints and/or mantras should be my post title instead of finding myself more and more drawn into the twisty dealings of Patty Hewes and Co. on Damages, which is conveniently playing while I prepare to share my recipe. However, I have to wait for inspiration for my Top Chef recap, and that usually only comes with my second or third viewing, particularly with a subpar episode, which last night's certainly was.

I know the recipe I am about to share is not especially unique. Most chicken parm recipes follow a similar formula. I'm really only doing it for your (my loyal band of 3-4 readers) convenience-it's a fabulous, comforting, easy weeknight dish, and now you can just print out this entry and have it on hand. I could not have been more happy, (neither could my husband, for that matter) than I was on Tuesday evening, diving into a crunchy, yet moist, parmigiano-crusted chicken breast, doused in fire-roasted tomato sauce and melted mozzarella. My mouth is watering as I write, regretting the fact that we're having shrimp and pasta tonight instead.

This isn't Rachael Ray's first version of the recipe, but it's the only one I've tried, from her Big Orange Book.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (You can use regular grated Parmesan, I'm sure, but I always purchase a wedge of this cheese. It is just infinitely better than the green can!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I didn't have this on hand, so I skipped it)
5 tablespoons EVOO, plus more as needed
4 chicken breast halves, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Salt and pepper
3-4 garlic gloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can diced or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I am VERY lucky to be able to buy basil in a large container at Trader Joe's, because usually I'd skip this step. I have a hard time justifying purchasing a tiny amount of leaves for a HUGE price. I have to say, though, it makes a tremendous difference having the fresh, heavenly scent of basil leaves in the dish.)
1 cup shredded smoked fresh mozzarella (I simply used a bag of lowfat shredded mozzarella from the dairy case)

1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Set up three dishes on your countertop: one with the flour, one with the eggs, and a third with the bread crumbs, half the grated Parm, and the parsley combined.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of the EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating up, season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper, and coat each one in the flour, then in the egg, and lastly in the cheesy bread crumbs.
4. Once the oil is hot, cook 2 of the chicken cutlets until they are golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on how thick they are. Transfer the cooked cutlets to a paper-towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining 2 cutlets, adding more oil to the pan if needed.
5. While the chicken is cooking, place a medium pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped onion, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies have softened. Add the tomatoes and heat them through, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the basil, then season the sauce with salt and pepper.
6. Spread a layer of the sauce in a casserole dish. Layer the chicken on top and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining grated Parmigiano and the mozzarella. Brown the casserole under the broiler until the cheese has melted and is light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Garnish with additional basil and serve.

All I have to show for this dish is this humble photo, taken after my husband and I had devoured the majority of the food. What can I say? We couldn't resist!

1 comment:

Hanne Tidnam said...

MMMM looks and sounds delicious! I might try this tonight.

My favorite line from this weeks' TC episode: "If they gave me a monkey's butt with some bananas, I'd make something." Isn't that what he said? Oh, that Fabio. It was nice to see Stefan finally get a little comeuppance, though...