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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

This recipe for Chicken Parmesan is fantastic! Usually when I try to bake Chicken Parmesan, it comes out soggy on the bottom, but this recipe is so crispy and delicious you'd think it was fried. I have to attribute this to the toasted Panko. The first time I made it, I had 1% lowfat buttermilk left over from the Red Velvet Cheesecake, and have seen Giada de Laurentiis dip chicken in buttermilk before breading, so I used it instead of the egg whites. The result: perfection. The second time I made it, I used 1 whole egg plus a little water, slightly beaten, because I couldn't bear to waste 3 innocent, perfectly good egg yolks. This time, I was lazy and pressed for time (my man was hungry!) and I knew the chicken pieces did not fit into the dish I had prepared, but I squished them in knowing it was at the expense of the crispiness . . . and I was right. The bottoms and tops were still crispy, just not the sides where the chicken pieces were touching. Oh well, it was still a great meal. See the pictures in the blogs linked below - they are much better than mine!

First time:

Second time:

Chicken Parmesan

1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (first time I used shredded Parm and it was great!)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt and pepper
3 large egg whites (or 1% lowfat buttermilk, or 1 whole egg mixed with water)
1 Tablespoon water
vegetable cooking spray
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into halves (4 pieces total)
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil (didn't use this)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, and preheat oven to 475F.

2. Combine the breadcrumbs and the oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat until golden, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and allow to cool slightly; when cook, stir in the Parmesan.

3. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together.

4. In third shallow dish whisk together the egg whites and water (or whatever you decide to use for this step).

5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour to coat completely, shaking off the excess. Then dip into the egg whites and finally coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Press on the breadcrumbs to make sure they adhere. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.

6. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of marinara sauce over the top of each piece of chicken and top with 2 Tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and serve as desired.

My notes: Any boneless, skinless chicken breast meat will do. As you can see from the pictures, I used chicken tenders the second time, and they were just as good. I think drying the chicken is an important step to ensure the flour sticks properly and doesn't turn gummy. Using cooking spray (or oil) on the foil is important or the chicken will stick. We ran out of spray while coating the foil the first time I made it, so only had about half the amount necessary, and the chicken took a little prying to loosen after baking.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats and Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Cook's Illustrated, October 2006


  1. This looks soo amazing! Delicious. I saw you live in Chi-town, hoping you are a cub fan!=)

  2. Great recipe! I'm definitely bookmarking this one. Panko is an amazing ingredient.


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