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Chicken parmesan is almost a staple in our house. It’s one of those meals that I know everyone will devour without the slightest dissent. But it never hurts to change things up a little. Such was the case yesterday, when my son came back from a 2 day sleepover at his cousins’ house and informed me his throat was sore. The cough soon followed and a cold had definitely set in. So I was a little shocked when I asked him what sounded good for dinner and he responded with veal parmesan. I imagined him responding with soup, a quesadilla or grilled cheese; his normal responses when sick. But who am I to deny a sick kid his dinner wish and besides, he missed out on grilled pizzas yesterday. After I informed him we’d have to go to the grocery store, one of the boringest experiences in a childs life, I half expected him to bow out of his dinner selection. To my surprise, he jumped up and was ready to go.
We got to the store, list in hand, and headed to the meat counter. One look at the veal and I knew we’d have to alter things a bit. It was dark pink and not the faint pale pink it should be, meaning this wasn’t really veal but younger beef instead. The cutlets were also paper thin which made them essentially useless other than for rolling up. If I’m going to spend $13/pound on veal, it better be perfect. “How about chicken parmesan?” With an affirming shrug we scooted on down to where the chicken was. We grabbed two individual chicken breasts and gathered the rest of what we needed before heading home.
I make my coating for chicken parmesan slightly different than most by mixing parmesan and bread crumbs together. Done correctly, the coating doesn’t stick to the pan and the parmesan gives it a fantastic taste. The twist came when I spotted a red bell pepper on the counter that needed to be used soon. I figured if chicken parmesan is good on it’s own, adding a roasted red bell can’t make it worse. And I was right. Enjoy!
I started by butterflying each breast into two filets. See “butterfly a chicken breast” under the “How To” tab above for instructions but cut all the way through instead of leaving the halves connected. I’ve never understood why people insist on trying to pound a whole breast down to a thin filet. You end up with a shredded, massive breast that’s too large for one serving anyways. These just require a couple of good smacks to be the perfect size.
I slipped the filets into a resealable bag two at a time and after a couple good smacks they were the perfect size.
I got a breading station set up with 3/4 cup flour seasoned with a couple pinches of kosher salt, 2 eggs beaten with a teaspoon of water and 1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs (2-3 slices of white bread whirled in the food processor) mixed with 1/3 cup grated parmesan.
I coated each breast in the flour, then the egg and finally throughly coated with the breadcrumb mixture. I set them on a wire rack over a pan and placed them into the refridgerator for 30 minutes. This step is crucial to get the coating to adhere when fried.
While the chicken was resting, I placed the red bell pepper on the grill to thoroughly blacken and blister the skin then placed it in a bowl and covered with foil to steam for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I removed the skin, seeds and stem and set aside.
Sorry; no pictures of it cooking. Battery died in the camera and I couldn’t go find another while it was cooking. I heated 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide fry pan over medium-medium high heat. I use my normal stainless steel, but your afraid the coating will stick because of the cheese in it(it won’t if you do it right), feel free to use a non-stick pan. Once the oil is hot, slowly lay in the chicken two at a time moving them around as you lay them. This ensures a good coating of oil below each breast. I cooked for 2 minutes then started gently prying up the ends with my tongs to allow oil to get under. Within another minute that side was done and had cleanly released from the pan. I flipped them over and cooked another 2 1/2 minutes repeating the same steps. After they were done I placed them on a lightly greased sheet pan and spooned a little marinara sauce (see My Basic Marinara) over each and topped them with some of the roasted red bell. I layed 3 small slices of fresh mozarella over each and cooked them under the broiler to melt the cheese about 2 minutes.
And this was the final result with some spaghetti rigate and marinara. The red bell pepper went perfectly this. Enjoy!
- 2 chicken breasts butterflied into 4 filets
- salt and pepper
- ¾ cup flour seasoned with 2 pinches of kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (2-3 slices white bread whirled in the food processor)
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan
- 2 eggs beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper blackened then seeds, stem and skin removed
- 2 cups marinara (see My Basic Marinara) for the recipe
- 8 ounces fresh mozarella sliced
- Place each chicken filet in a bag and pound a few times until thin about ¼ inch. Season with salt and pepper. Place the flour and eggs in two seperate pans. Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan together and place in another pan. Coat each breast with flour, then coat with the egg and finally thoroughly coat with the breadcrumb mix. Place them on a wire rack over a pan and put them in the refridgerator to cool for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a wide fry pan over medium-medium high heat. When it's hot slowly lay in the chicken, two at a time, moving them around as you lay them to make sure they have a good coating of oil below each. Fry for 2 minutes then gently start prying up each end with tongs allowing oil to get under. Within 1 more minute the chicken will release and it's ready to be flipped. Repeat for the other side and the other breasts cooking about 2½-3 minutes per side. Remove to a lightly greased sheet pan and spoon a little marinara over each. Top with a layer of the roasted bell pepper and then 3 slices of mozarella. Broil for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.