When going to eat at an Italian restaurant a classic dish is Chicken Parmesan. It just sounds so fancy and difficult to make, doesn’t it? Not true! You can make it at home once you learn how to bread and fry the chicken properly.
3 to 6 Chicken Breasts*
1/2 c Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 c Italian Bread Crumbs
10 oz Pasta
2 c Marinara Sauce
*if you have larger chicken breasts then you can get 2 servings from each one. If the breasts are already cut small then you need 1 breast per person.
**Using 2 cups of marinara will only give a light coating on your pasta. If you prefer a saucey version, double the amount of marinara called for in the recipe.
Begin by flattening the chicken breasts to 1/3 of an inch thick. They need to be consistent when frying or thinner ends will be overcooked and thicker spots could be raw.
Lay a cooling rack on a cookie sheet.
Place the flour on a plate or a container larger enough to fit the whole chicken piece. Season it with the salt and pepper. Pat the chicken dry and dredge in the flour. The whole thing needs to be coated! Gently shake it to remove the excess flour. Lay on the cooling rack and allow the pieces to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs till frothy. This is easier if you have let the eggs set on the counter for a bit to warm up. The bowl needs to be large enough to dip the chicken. On another plate, spread the bread crumbs.
Dredge the chicken into the egg, allowing excess to drip off. Place it on top of the breadcrumbs. Grab some of the crumbs off the plate and pour onto the chicken. Now press it into the meat. This is a tip I learned years ago off a PBS show. The chef who told it learned from an Italian girl while visiting Italy. if the Italians do it, there must be a reason, right? Well, the reason is that it keeps those bread crumbs from falling off the meat and into the oil when you fry it. Do this to both sides and set back onto the cooling rack and allow to rest another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat your frying oil. Pour enough in the pan to go just over halfway up your flattened chicken breasts. I turn the burner to halfway over medium and medium-high. It should be hot enough that when you place a piece in the oil, it begins to bubble. Fry on each side for about 2 1/2 minutes.
Now you have to keep the pieces warm and still keep a crispy crust. In a warm oven, place another baking sheet with another cooling rack. As you fry each chicken breast, place it on the cooling rack. Do not turn the temperature up higher or you will lose the crispy crust!
While you are frying the chicken breasts, boil your favorite long pasta. Spaghetti, linguine and fettuccine all work well in this dish. Serve with the chicken on top of the pasta and pour on the desired amount of marinara sauce. I use homemade but you can definitely use your favorite jarred kind. End by sprinkling with Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated makes a big difference in this dish!
I hope you give this classic Italian dish a try. Let me know how it goes!