When I was growing up, my parents and I ALWAYS used to go out to this little Italian restaurant by our house called Amici’s. I’m talking a couple times a month here. This place is a real joint, located between an Off Track Betting on one side and a dry cleaners on the other in a supermarket strip mall. Weird place for a restaurant, but dang do they make good food! Isn’t it weird how the most unlikely, hole-in-the-wall places tend to make the yummiest stuff?
Anyways, to this day, my parents only have to walk in to the restaurant before the waitress knows to put in an order for “the usual” – two orders of chicken parm (one with extra sauce). And when I’m around these days, count it as “the usual” plus one, please!
Chicken parmesan is one of those dishes that brings me straight back to childhood. When I was little, I used to call this dish “Pizza Chicken”, for fairly obvious reasons that make sense to most 6-year-olds.
So here’s my take on it- in a few simple steps you too can enjoy the magic of homemade pizza chicken too! I recently made this for a few friends in town, one of whom was celebrating her birthday- such a classic, simple way to make a special meal.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1-inch thickness
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup flour, poured into a shallow bowl
- 2 eggs, beaten
- about 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- vegetable oil (for frying)
- about 2 cups of the Easiest (and Best) Tomato Sauce
, simmering on low heat
- about 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- about 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- fresh basil for garnish
1) Preheat your oven to 350. Heat up the vegetable oil in a large, ovenproof pan that also has a lid. You want the oil to hit around 300 degrees on a kitchen thermometer. Use enough so that you have about a half-inch of oil in the pan.
2) After pounding them, dry your chicken breasts thoroughly with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper. We will get the chicken ready for frying in three steps of coating: flour, egg, and panko. First, dredge the chicken in the flour, making sure to get a thin layer of flour on all sides. then, dip the chicken in the egg. Finally, dredge the chicken in the panko crumbs. Each layer of coating allows for the next layer to stick perfectly- and makes for an insanely delicious and crispy crust.
3) Slowly place your fully-coated chicken breasts in the pan. Let sit for about 5-6 minutes then flip and let cook for another 5-6 minutes.
4) Ladle about a half-cup of sauce over each chicken breast. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese- there’s no real need for exact measurements here- just follow your heart and stomach.
5) Cover pan, and transfer to the oven for about 20 minutes- until a kitchen thermometer reads 160 at the thickest part of the chicken and the cheese is nice and bubbly brown. Once the chicken is done, remove from the oven, and serve with basil garnish if desired.
I cannot stress how much I love and recommend having a kitchen thermometer around- it’s so handy in the kitchen, doubles as a timer, and quashes any worries I have about food safety. Here is a link to the kitchen thermometer I have- but there are a lot of options out there.
In my picture you’ll see that the chicken breasts are pretty large- I did not pound it first and wished I had. It would have cooked a lot faster and more evenly. Live and learn! Hope you enjoy!