Chicken Parmesan: A Classic Italian-American Favorite
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Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Parmigiana, stands as a quintessential dish in Italian-American cuisine. With its golden-brown, crispy exterior, smothered in tangy marinara sauce, and topped with melted cheese, Chicken Parmesan tantalizes taste buds and brings comfort to any table. Let’s delve into the timeless recipe that has captured the hearts and palates of many.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (Italian seasoned, if available)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). This temperature ensures that the Chicken Parmesan bakes evenly and reaches a delicious golden brown finish after frying.
  2. Prepare the Chicken Breasts: Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper on a sturdy surface. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. This step helps tenderize the meat and ensures uniform cooking.
  3. Create the Breading Station: Set up a breading station with three shallow dishes. In the first dish, place all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper. In the second dish, crack and beat the eggs until well-combined. In the third dish, combine breadcrumbs with grated Parmesan cheese, creating a flavorful coating for the chicken.
  4. Coat the Chicken: Take each chicken breast and dredge it in the seasoned flour mixture, ensuring that it’s fully coated and shaking off any excess flour. Then, dip the chicken into the beaten eggs, allowing any excess to drip off. Finally, coat the chicken generously in the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture, pressing gently to help the coating adhere to the meat.
  5. Heat Olive Oil and Fry the Chicken: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add the breaded chicken breasts to the skillet, working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding. Fry each side of the chicken until it achieves a golden brown and crispy exterior, which typically takes about 3-4 minutes per side. Adjust the heat as needed to avoid burning the coating.
  6. Transfer to Baking Dish: Once the chicken is evenly browned, transfer it to a baking dish or sheet pan lined with parchment paper. This will ensure easy cleanup and prevent the chicken from sticking.
  7. Add Marinara Sauce and Cheese: Spoon marinara sauce generously over each chicken breast, ensuring that it’s fully covered. Then, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of each chicken breast, ensuring that each piece is well-covered with cheese.
  8. Bake in the Oven: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake the Chicken Parmesan for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted and bubbly. The baking process helps marry the flavors together and creates a gooey, cheesy topping.
  9. Let It Rest: Once the Chicken Parmesan is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute within the chicken, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful dish.
  10. Garnish and Serve: Optionally, garnish the Chicken Parmesan with fresh basil leaves for a burst of color and added freshness. Serve the dish hot alongside your favorite accompaniments, such as pasta, garlic bread, or a crisp green salad, for a complete and satisfying meal.

Tips:

  • For extra flavor, consider adding garlic powder, dried oregano, or dried basil to the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture.
  • Use homemade marinara sauce or your favorite store-bought variety for convenience.
  • For a healthier alternative, you can bake the breaded chicken breasts instead of frying them. Simply place them on a baking rack set over a baking sheet and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Bottom Line

With its crispy exterior, tender chicken, and savory sauce, Chicken Parmesan embodies the essence of Italian-American comfort food. Whether served for a cozy family dinner or a celebratory gathering, this classic dish never fails to delight. Enjoy the warmth and flavors of Chicken Parmesan as it brings a taste of Italy to your table. Buon appetito!

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