Monday, January 19, 2015

Recipe #47: Baked, Not Fried, Chicken Parmesan

Growing up in Chicago, you didn't go to chain restaurants like you do now, you went to family-owned establishments.  It was there that you got to see first-hand how all the family members went to work doing something.  A favorite place of my family for Italian food was Esposito's.  You had the younger kids and mom at the register, the older kids and dad back in the kitchen and the head of the family, grandma, overseeing the whole operation, complete with cigarette dangling out of her mouth.  And boy, did they have great food...veal parmigiana, pizza, meatball sandwiches, Italian beef with peppers...makes me want to fly there right now, except that they closed about 30 years ago.    My favorite was the pizza, with a razor-thin crust, and so much stuff on it, you almost had to fold it in half to eat it.  Regretfully, nothing stays the same...the place is gone, I'm in Seattle, and gave up veal years ago.   So here is a version with chicken, which isn't so new, but the chicken is baked in the oven rather than fried.  No, nothing beats fried, but there are times when you can still get pretty much the same flavor without all that oil.  Please try it...

2 chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces vertically                4 egg whites, beaten with 1 tbsp water
   then sliced in half horizontally                                      1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs, I use seasoned
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese                                      my marinara sauce or sugo recipe
1 tsp dried basil, crushed between your fingers             1 tsp salt

I usually put all the chicken breasts on a cutting board, place a piece of plastic wrap over the whole thing, and using a metal mallet, or rolling pin, flatten so they are just about uniform.  Have egg whites in a bowl.  In a flat casserole dish, put in breadcrumbs, basil, salt and parmesan cheese.  Mix together with a fork.  Heat oven to 425 and have a sheet pan lined with parchment ready to go.  Dip each piece of chicken in the egg whites and place in breadcrumbs, and with the other hand, coat the chicken with the crumbs.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, turn over and bake another ten.  Take out of the oven and place more grated cheese on each piece.  Place pieces of chicken onto cooling rack so the bottom of each piece doesn't get soggy.  Cover with your favorite pasta sauce and serve with pasta.  Bon appetit!





 
 
 






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