Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick Chicken Parmesan

If you love ordering chicken parmesan when you go out to eat at an Italian restaurant, then you are going to love this...and you'll start to look for other things on the menu to try at that restaurant. Honest. This is just that good and that easy to make.

Quick Chicken Parmesan

Serves 4

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Nonstick cooking spray
2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (about 14 oz.)
Kosher salt
5 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (use the small holes on a box grater)
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes (preferably Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes)
1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped (1/2 oz.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a wide, shallow dish. In a second wide, shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs with 1 Tbs. water. Put the panko in a third wide, shallow dish. Season the chicken with salt and coat each piece in the flour, tapping off the excess, then the egg, and then the panko, pressing the panko to help it adhere.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, cook the chicken, flipping once, until the crumbs are golden and the chicken is almost cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adding 2 Tbs. more oil for the second batch. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chicken with the Parmigiano and then top evenly with the mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, wipe the skillet clean and set over medium heat. Pour in the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and then add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and 1/4 tsp. salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce over the chicken.
(To see this on go here: Chicken Parmesan - Fine Cooking Recipes, Techniques and Tips. Recipe by Melissa Gaman)

This is a truly excellent dish and super easy to make. To make this Tim & Jen style substitute crushed saltine crackers for panko and add some of those Topper's lightly salted crispy onions (used for salad) or the ones you use on green bean casserole. We also used a bottle of our favorite marinara sauce instead of making the quick tomato sauce.

This is a great dish to make extra of and freeze. We had a lot of chicken and went ahead and fried up a bunch of breast strips and then froze them on a baking sheet with the cheese on top. From there it was easy to wrap up and freeze for later. Later turned out to be less than a week. This was just too good to keep in the freezer! To reheat just turn the oven on and cook as directed. It may take a minute or two longer, but not much. We found this defrosted and cooked very quickly.


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