by Cat, Oct 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
- See also 1. Brining Chicken; 2. Preparing Chicken or Other Cutlets; 3. Eggplant Parmigiana; 4. Poultry & Fowl Main Course Menu
- Includes: 1. Chicken Parmigiana, Version 1; 2. Chicken Parmigiana, Version 2 (adapted from Eggplant Parmigiana); 3. Variation: Chicken & Eggplant Parmigiana
You can find more of my chicken cutlet recipes, as well as links to cutlet recipes on other sites, on the Poultry & Fowl Main Course Menu, under Chicken Cutlets.
I recommend brining the chicken to help it retain its moisture. I first learned to make Eggplant Parmigiana from the Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (3) (see beloved cookbooks for more about this book), which was my first cookbook as a young adult in the 1970s. Then when I started adding chicken and fish to my diet, I learned to make this with chicken; or sometimes with both eggplant and chicken.
I include two versions of Chicken Parmigiana here; the first adds the tomato sauce after the chicken and cheese have baked; the second makes a thicker, richer sauce from fresh tomato paste and red wine that is baked with the chicken and cheese.
Chicken Parmigiana, Version 1
This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking (1), and serves 4.
- 4 ea 6-oz chicken breasts
- ½ cup unbleached white flour or tapioca starch
- Unrefined Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs (preferably sourdough)
- about 4 Tbsp coconut oil or lard
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or regular Parmesan
- 1 ½ cups fresh or canned crushed tomatoes
- large bowl (for brining)
- baking sheet
- 3 wide, shallow dishes/bowls for dipping
- cast iron skillet or chicken fryer
- Cutlets: Brine chicken and prepare cutlets (see Preparing Cutlets, above). Or, If you don’t brine the chicken, season it lightly with salt.
- Meanwhile, chop the onion and mince the garlic. Chop basil. Grate the parmesan using the small holes on the grater. Slice mozzarella. Set all aside.
- Preheat oven to 425° F, and position oven rack in center of oven. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Mix flour/starch with ¼ tsp pepper in a dipping dish; lightly beat eggs with 1 Tbsp water in another dipping dish; and the breadcrumbs in a third dipping dish.
- Dip chicken pieces in flour, tapping off excess, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs to help it adhere.
- Heat 2 Tbsp of the coconut oil or lard in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, flipping once until crumbs are golden and chicken is almost cooked through. Work in batches so chicken pieces are not crowded, using another 2 Tbsp oil/lard for the second batch. Transfer to oiled baking sheet.
- Sprinkle pieces with parmesan and top evenly with mozzarella slices. Bake until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through, 5 – 7 minutes.
- Sauce : Meanwhile, wipe skillet clean and set over medium heat. Pour in remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is tender and lightly browned, 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and ¼ tsp salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 – 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the chopped basil. Adjust seasoning.
- Serve the sauce over the chicken.
Chicken Parmigiana, Version 2
This version is based on my Eggplant Parmigiana recipe, originally adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, and serves 4. It uses a richer, thicker tomato sauce or paste made fresh from fresh tomatoes and red wine instead of a more traditional tomato sauce as in the previous recipe. The sauce is added to the chicken before baking, rather than added after baking as in previous recipe.
- Chicken cutlets
- 4 ea 6-oz chicken breasts
- unbleached white flour or tapioca starch
- 1 – 2 eggs
- dried breadcrumbs
- olive oil
- ½ lb fresh Mozzarella
- 6 Tbsp fresh Tomato Paste, Fresh. for Parmigiana Sauce or other tomato paste
- dry white or red wine
- pinch dried oregano or basil, or a bit more fresh
- 2 (or more) cloves garlic
- Unrefined Sea Salt and freshly grated black pepper
- 1 cup freshly grated Paremsan or Romano cheese
- 3 small, shallow bowls (for dipping cutlets)
- cast iron skillet
- lasagna or other baking dish
- Chicken: Brine chicken and prepare cutlets (see Preparing Cutlets, above). Or, If you don’t brine the chicken, season it lightly with salt.
- Put a little flour in a shallow bowl; whip egg with a little milk in second shallow bowl; and breadcrumbs in a 3rd shallow bowl.
- Dip slices into flour, then into egg/milk mixture, and then into the breadcrumbs, so they are well coated.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat olive oil or lard in cast iron skillet; sauté coated cutlets, a few at a time (don’t crowd), until they are nicely browned on both sides. Tend them carefully and add oil as needed.
- When cutlets are golden brown, arrange them in baking dish, and put a slice or more of Mozzarella on each one. You may need two layers of cutlets & Mozzarella slices to fit into the pan.
- Sauce, Bake: Make a thick tomato sauce by diluting the tomato paste with wine. Mince garlic, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and crush with flat side of a chef’s knife until they release liquid. Add to tomato paste with oregano or basil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 – 3 Tbsp on each cutlet in baking dish.
- Sprinkle grated parmesan on top; bake about 15 minutes and serve steaming hot.
Variation: Eggplant & Chicken Parmigiana
Use ingredients and method for Version 2 above, with the following changes:
- Use only 2 boneless chicken half-breasts
- Add 1 eggplant (see Eggplant Parmigiana for how to pre-salt and prep the slices)
- Double amount of tomato-wine sauce.
- For the chicken cutlets, cut breasts crosswise in ¾” thick pieces. Then cut each of these in half, parallel to first cut, but not all the way through. Then ‘butterfly’ each piece and pound lightly to about ¼” thick. Bread them in flour/egg/bread-crumbs as above.
- Cook the breaded eggplant and chicken cutlets in batches, as above.
- Arrange a layer of the cooked eggplant slices in baking pan. Top each with a slice of the fresh mozzarella and a spoonful of the tomato sauce. Then top with a cooked chicken cutlet and repeat with the mozzarella and tomato sauce. Sprinkle grated parmesan over all.
- Bake in preheated 400°F oven, 15 – 20 minutes until cheese is melted and all is hot.
Serving Suggestions for either version:
- Serve with pasta or gnocci on the side, with a green salad and garlic-parmesan bread if desired.
- Spinach, chard or kale braised with minced fresh garlic is a nice accompaniment.
- Quick Chicken Parmesan (finecooking.com/recipes/quick-chicken-parmesan.aspx
- Classic Eggplant Parmigiana (finecooking.com/recipes/classic-eggplant-parmigiana.aspx)
- The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (see beloved cookbooks for more about this book)