September 23, 2017

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken

It's technically fall now, and as much as I'd love to be wrapped up in a big blanket while wearing an oversize sweater and fuzzy socks and drinking hot chocolate, it's somewhere between 92 degrees and hell. This is Wisconsin, people! Give me some hot cheese and cute boots and I'm ready to embrace the change in season. I suppose the one good thing about the unusually warm weather this time of year is the great selection still at the farmers' market. There is still corn, watermelon, and a gorgeous rainbow of tomatoes. Since I'm always looking for excuses to go to the farmers' market and also for quick dinner recipes, this recipe is just what I'm looking for. It's my new favorite way to make chicken breasts, and topping it with seasonal (ish) tomatoes puts it over the top.

What makes this recipe so special is the breading. Instead of using Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs or the always-crunchy panko crumbs, I toss some plain breadcrumbs with freshly grated parmesan for some extra saltiness. When you use fresh parmesan, it has some extra moisture to bind to the crumbs and get coated completely. Pre-shredded parmesan is more waxy and doesn't stick to the crumbs, so you get bits of bare cheese that melt and burn during cooking.

The chicken itself starts with the most basic of all meats: the humble boneless, skinless chicken breast. I pound it thin to tenderize it, allow it to cook faster, and provide more surface area for those tasty breadcrumbs. If you don't have a meat tenderizer, I've found that a rolling pin works just fine. The chicken gets dipped in flour to make the egg stick, egg wash to make the breadcrumbs stick, and parmesan breadcrumbs to make life just a little better. I like to pan fry mine to get a nice golden crust and finish it in the oven, but if yours is thin enough to cook fully in the pan or you want to go the healthy route and cook it all in the oven those methods work just as well.

There are lots of ways to dress the chicken cutlets up once you're done cooking them. You can make a true chicken parmesan by topping them with tomato sauce and mozzarella and baking until hot and gooey. I also make a quick tomato relish by tossing diced tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic, and fresh herbs and letting it sit for an hour or so. You can cut this up for salads or sandwiches, too. Honestly, you can use this as a base for any other way you normally eat chicken. Breaded chicken usually isn't anything special, but it's amazing what some extra cheese can do.

1 lb Tomatoes
1-2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 T Olive Oil
2 T Balsamic
1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breasts
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup Milk
1 1/3 Cups Breadcrumbs
1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan

Dice the tomatoes. Whisk the garlic, olive oil, and balsamic together and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375F.

Pound the chicken until about 1/4-1/2" thick. Season the flour with salt, pepper, and half the garlic and onion powder. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt, pepper, and remaining garlic and onion powder.

Heat some oil in a large skillet. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumb mixture. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden. Bake for 6-10 minutes or until cooked through. Top with the tomatoes.

Serves 4-6

1 comment:

  1. Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts is so yummy honestly and I have tried this for like so many times in different restaurants. This is the most amazing dish to have