Chicken Parmigiana

28 May

chicken parmigianaI read an interesting quiz on a food blog recently asking people to name their number one kitchen fear. Which got me thinking…what is mine? It didn’t require much contemplation actually – I have no idea about frying anything and I find it very daunting. How do I know if the oil is hot enough? But now is it too hot? What do I do with all that oil afterwards? And in the end none of my questions are ever answered because whatever I was thinking of cooking would never compare with the cracking fish and chips from the coast anyway – so I just end up making something else.

chicken parmigianaTo give an example of how much of a frying novice I am – I thought I had read something about dropping a drip of water into the oil to test if it was hot enough. Wha..? After sitting rather interestingly and beautifully as a perfect little ball of water on the bottom of the pan for a few minutes it suddenly exploded out of the pan with a pop once it reached its critical temperature! Yikes! Lesson learned! After doing this stupid experiment I remembered that it was a cube of bread, not a drop of water! Oops!

chicken parmigianaThe thing that changed my mind this week about attempting to fry something (and which preceded the above experiment) was stumbling across this recipe for Chicken Parmesan which really simplified the process (but I persisted with my oil and water experiment anyway…). He says to heat the oil “until it begins to shimmer”, which it actually does! And when I put the chicken in the oil it bubbled away in a rather satisfying way. Two minutes later, as per his instructions, I flipped the chicken and repeated on the other side. Amazing – the breadcrumbs were golden brown, not burnt, not undercooked, hooray! I could only do one piece at a time but that didn’t matter because they were all topped with tomato sauce and cheese and put in the oven for 15 minutes to finish cooking.

As to the oil disposal, when it finally cooled (which took a long time) it was tipped back into its bottle and thrown in the bin. Is this the right thing to do? Is there something better to do with it? I remember from my childhood that oil does not go down the sink! But that’s about all I know about the clean up. Would love any tips, if anyone has them!

chicken parmigianaThis is definitely an occasional meal due to the frying involved, but it was so delicious. The cheese I used was some crazy Canadian non-melting mozzarella, so if I made this again I’d definitely choose another cheese, but otherwise the chicken was fabulous and has taught me a few good lessons about frying.

Ingredients (for 3 people)

3 chicken breasts, scallopini’d and pounded (I got the butcher to do this)

Freshly ground salt and pepper

1 cup plain flour

2 medium eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs

About 300mls vegetable oil (about 2 cm in the bottom of the frying pan)

250mls prepared tomato sauce (I used a spicy peppers one)

100g mozzarella, sliced

Method

Preheat the oven to 230°C and prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking paper.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls and season each with salt and pepper.

Dip each piece of chicken in the flour, and shake off the excess, then the egg, letting the excess drip off, and finally the breadcrumbs and then set crumbed chicken aside on a plate.

Heat the oil over a medium-high heat, as Chef John says, until shimmering.

Carefully place 1 piece of chicken in the oil, it should bubble away gently.

Let it cook for 2 minutes, then turn it over and fry for 2 minutes on the other side. Set it aside on a paper towel and repeat the process with the other pieces of chicken.

Arrange all the pieces of chicken on the prepared baking tray and top with 1/3 of the tomato sauce on each. Lay cheese slices over tomato sauce and bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with something less calorific (and probably less tasty) like a big green salad.

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2 Responses to “Chicken Parmigiana”

  1. Helen Devenish May 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    love it Marc – that was a refreshing take on Palma lol loved the water in oil bit. If you were ever in Kitchen with Uncle John – yes the Godfather – when he is cooking and frying – that is another experience all together. The food is delicious – the aftermath of cleaning up – hmmmmm ha ha – even flour on ceiling sometimes – maybe he throws the food in the air to coat it. Very proud of you chickadee xxxx

    • marcieblogs May 29, 2013 at 2:57 am #

      Thanks Hele! Can’t wait to get back in the kitchen with Johno, I know he likes to cook solo, but I can be a very quiet assistant when required! I’m still talking about those delicious whiting we caught and that he cooked up 2 years on!

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