Ah, chicken parmesan: one of my favorite Italian dishes that I ate plenty of growing up. Every time my parents took us out to an Italian restaurant, for some reason I always just gravitated towards this particular dish. I mean, with crispy chicken combined with a savory tomato sauce and topped off with melted cheese, what’s not to love?
I’ve been long overdue to try cooking a new dish (my last recipe post was in July 2015!), so I thought chicken parmesan was a prime candidate to break me out of my normal dish routine.
My version of chicken parmesan is briefly pan-fried and then finished off in the oven, giving the chicken more of a crunch.
Makes 1 – 2 servings
~ 2 boneless chicken breast halves
~ 1 egg
~ 1/3 cup flour
~ 1 tsp garlic powder
~ 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
~ 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
~ 4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
~ 1/3 cup olive oil
~ 1 cup tomato sauce
~ 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
~ 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- The only ingredient that you’ll need to prep using the cutting board is the fresh basil. Chop up two or three good-sized leaves to give you what you need later.
- If you have a thicker cut of chicken breast, cut it down where you’ll have two halves that are about a 1/2″ thick. An alternative would be to take a meat tenderizer and flatten out the chicken until it got to the same 1/2″ thickness.
- In order to help organize the chicken breading process, take out three containers, two of which would be long enough to lay the chicken breast flat in.
- Combine the flour, pepper, and garlic powder in one container, and then use a fork to stir it up to distribute the spices.
- Combine the panko bread crumbs and half the parmesan cheese in the second container, also blending with a fork to distribute.
- Beat the egg in the remaining container and set all three containers aside.
- Take each chicken breast piece and place it first into the flour container, evenly coating both sides. Then transfer the piece over to the egg container, followed by the breadcrumb container. I strongly prefer the “double-coating” option, since the flour + egg initial coat helps to get a lot more breadcrumbs to stick to the chicken. After both pieces are done, set them aside.
Stovetop / Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Since I was cooking a smaller portion, I ended using my toaster oven to bake both pieces, which worked out great.
- Take a large skillet and heat up the olive oil on medium-high heat. (A little trick I learned to test if oil is ready for frying is to flick a little bit of flour in there and see if it bubbles.) Once the pan is ready to go, lay the two pieces in and cook them until both sides are golden brown (about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side).
- Use some non-stick spray on your oven tray before you transfer over the chicken breast pieces from the skillet. This will help for getting the chicken off after baking. Top the chicken with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce, but not so much that it overflows on the side.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on both pieces, followed by another dusting of parmesan cheese. Crack some fresh black pepper over that, along with a slight drizzling of olive oil.
- Throw them into the oven for about 16 – 20 minutes, keeping a watchful eye to ensure the cheese is getting browned and not burnt. At about five minutes remaining for cooking time, add the chopped basil onto the chicken.
- Once time’s up, take the oven tray out and let the chicken sit for a minute or two before moving to plate. (This will let the chicken cook a bit longer on the hot tray.)
- You could definitely serve the chicken by itself with side dishes, or combo it with some pasta (like I did on the bed of spaghetti).
I really liked the crunchiness of the chicken, with the parmesan flavor embedding itself in the breading. The fresh basil garnish gave some bites an aromatic flavor, and the tomato sauce was just the right amount for the chicken (although that left the pasta a little dry). Next time I think I’ll toss the pasta in a splash of olive oil and add in some pepper, dried basil, and parmesan cheese before plating.
I devoured my piece of chicken before I knew it, and I had to exert a lot of self-control to not gobble up the second piece as well. As a dish that’s relatively straightforward to prepare and doesn’t overload on a ton of ingredients, chicken parm is a great go-to meal option. I know my stomach’s already looking forward to the next time I’m making it.