Wednesday, June 13, 2012
When I first heard "parmesan chicken" on Barefoot Contessa, I thought of heavily breaded chicken topped with heavy marinara and a blanket of gooey melted mozzarella. It did not strike me as an elegant meal that Ina Garten would serve. But I watched anyhow, and instead I discovered a lovely alternative to grilled chicken. Sure, its breaded and cooked in oil. But this is not at all heavy like a chicken parmesan.
Of course, Ina makes her own breadcrumbs and for a quick weeknight meal, I do not. I will use whatever boxed breadcrumbs I have on hand (even Panko), if I don't have any home made breadcrumbs in the freezer. The crunchiness you get from the addition of grated parmesan cheese is what makes this chicken so delicious. And I like to add lemon zest as well, which compliments the lemon vinaigrette I typically use on the salad.
You can use chicken breast, chicken tenders or even diced chicken to make nuggets. This recipe is elegant enough for a dinner party, and yummy enough for a kid's birthday party.
recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa Family Style, by Ina Garten
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 extra large eggs
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, optional (or chives, or whatever herbs you have hanging around)
zest of 1 lemon, optional
extra virgin olive oil
Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4 inch thick. (I usually ask the butcher to do it for me!)
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. In a second bowl, beat the eggs. In a third bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and lemon zest. Coat the chicken on both sides in the flour, then dip both sides in the egg mixture, and finally dredge both sides in the bread crumb mixture, pressing lightly to adhere.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sautee pan and cook 2-3 breasts on medium low heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Add more butter and oil as you cook each new batch. You can keep the chicken breasts warm for 15 minutes on a sheet pan in a 200 degree oven.