I love to be popular in my house. No shame in that I suppose. When someone in my family asks me what we are eating for dinner and my reply is something like "grilled blah blah with blah and something reduction..." I won't claim that eyes roll but the reaction is NOTHING like I get when I say something like...mmm...chicken parm.
Now THAT gets their attention.
There is nothing particularly ground breaking in this recipe. It's all about using the absolute best ingredients. And I really mean that. It's a pretty straightforward but totally soul-satisfying meal.
Please keep in mind that I live with three men with bottomless pits for stomachs. Adjust the proportions accordingly. Or follow mine and freeze half of it.
You kind of have to serve it with pasta and a big salad. Oh, and the leftovers will make you very happy, too.
Serves about 8 with leftovers
Time: About 10 minutes to make the sauce, 20 minutes to pan fry the chicken, 5 minutes to assemble, 20-25 minutes to cook the dish.
3 lbs organic chicken cutlets (or boneless breast pounded thin if you can't find)
3 c panko breadcrumbs
olive oil for frying
1 T dried oregano (this is one of the ONLY times I will used a dried version of an herb)
1 t salt
1 t crushed red pepper
2 t wild garlic sea salt (or 1 t minced garlic + 1 t salt)
1/2 c milk
1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
for the sauce:
2 28 oz cans of crushed san marzano tomatoes
14 oz water
1 onion, diced
2-4 cloved of garlic, minced
1 T dried oregano
2 t crushed red pepper
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1 1/4 lb fresh mozzarella
fresh basil, cut into ribbons to serve
Make your sauce first. Lightly coat the bottom of large saucepan with oil and heat to medium. Saute the garlic and the onions together for a few minutes.
Add the tomatoes, water and seasonings adjusting to your taste.
Cook over medium heat for a few more minutes and then turn it down to a simmer, stirring occasionally and tasting as the flavors start to come together.
Pre-heat oven to 350º
In a medium size bowl, mix together the panko, oregano, salt, pepper and cheese.
Whisk together the eggs and milk. Coat the bottom of a very large frying pan with oil and heat to medium-high. Using one hand, dip the chicken in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. With your other hand, dip the cutlet in the panko mixture, taking care to coat it evenly. Repeat with all of the cutlets.
When your oil is hot but not smoking, carefully cook the chicken to golden brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towels before arranging in your baking dishes.
Arrange the cutlets in shallow baking pans so that they are touching but not overlapping. Ladle some sauce over the chicken to lightly coat but not smother. Arrange the cheese evenly over the chicken.
Put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta and start to make a salad.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is starting to bubble. Garnish with some basil and watch it go.