My favorite dinner in the world used to be the chicken Parmesan at a local restaurant (begins with a chocolate-tini and ends with chocolate gelato with almond cookies). Then, one day, they changed their recipe and I was crushed! Who would change their recipe, when they had reached perfection? I had to try to replicate it at home, to feed my cravings.
Secrets: Some important secrets to a fantastic chicken parm are to pound the chicken really thin, make a nice crisp breading and use a sweet simple sauce and strong mozzarella (I love fresh mozzarella, but not with this).
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp sherry or milk
3/4 cup fine breadcrumbs (the restaurant version had ground breadsticks, can also use Progresso plain bread crumbs)
3/4 cup Parmesan reggiano
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Tip: Grating the Parmesan cheese is fine, but if you can throw the cheese in chunks into a mini-prep Cuisinart or other chopping tool, with the bread crumbs, it helps make the cheese as fine as the crumbs and the breading cooks better
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Tip: never use the chicken tenders, they are filled with fat
Salt and pepper to taste
Bag of shredded mozzarella or grate a nice big chunk of mozzarella
1 or 2 cups of simple tomato sauce
Set up the three dipping bowls:
2. Whisked eggs and sherry or milk
3. breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese combined
Clean and trim off all the fat from the chicken breasts, cut them the long way in half, like butterflying them. Pound your now 6 thinner breasts as evenly and as thinly as you can. Make sure they are dried before you start dipping.
Tip: I use the flat side of my meat mallet to prevent ripping the meat. Cover with wax paper to avoid spraying the countertops with raw chicken.
Preheat oven on 350 degrees. Start 1 tbsp olive oil and butter heating in a non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Dip the first 3 breasts and brown on both sides in the hot oil/butter. Put them into a lasagna dish and heat in the oven for 10 minutes uncovered to make sure the chicken is cooked through. Brown the other cutlets while the first are warming. Once the 10 minutes pass, put on the broiler for 1-2 minutes and get the cheese all browned and bubbly!! Remove from the oven and warm the next set in the oven again on 350 degrees, then broil for 1 or 2 minutes.
Trick: Never walk away from the broiler, for any reason. Set a timer for 1 minute and check, then try another minute if it has no brown on the cheese. It is so easy to burn anything that is under that broiler – don’t even run to the bathroom or you will have a charred mess.
I never put any sauce on until it is ready to eat, then you just put it on half the chicken. This is a restaurant trick so that you don’t overwhelm with the sauce or make it soggy and sauce lovers can dip it in the extra sauce. Definitely don’t bake it in sauce or you will lose the crisp of the coating.
Serve with pasta (we cooked extra sauce and ate tortellini stuffed with chicken and mozzarella with this the other night, amazing!) Pair with a crisp salad for health, but I doubt anyone will eat the salad with this in front of them!