Chicken Parmesan

I have been making this recipe for ages, or so it seems.  I found the recipe on a page torn from a magazine tucked into a vintage cookbook that was handed down to me.  It is actually a recipe for Veal Parmesan but I have always used chicken instead and my own homemade tomato sauce.  It is a favorite of my daughter and most of the picky eaters in the family like it as well.

Chicken Parmesan (Chicken Parmigiana) is probably one of the most popular and loved Italian-American dishes in the USA.  It is found on local and chain Italian restaurants.  I associate it with Fall cooking because we have a big family dinner in September to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and Chicken Parmesan is her entree of choice.  It just may be our most loved Italian comfort food.

The thing about Chicken Parmesan is that it is not really authentic Italian. Chicken Parmesan has its origins in the United States, where it was popularized among Italian-American communities. Italian immigrants created the meal, which quickly became thought of as an authentic Italian dish.  According to Clifford A. Wright, eggplant parmesan is the dish you are most likely to find in Italy. It is most likely the predecessor to all other parmesan dishes.  Mr. Wright is a culinary historian who has written many cookbooks.  For more interesting facts about the origins of Eggplant Parmesan, please read this article here written by Mr. Wright.

I have his 1999 cookbook A Mediterranean Feast in my collection. His cookbook is not the usual one but rather a history told through recipes, which I love.  With over 700 pages in this book, it is definitely a useful resource to have in a cookbook collection.

A Mediterranean Feast

It is interesting to note that Italian restaurants in the USA had the dish on their menus in the 1950s.  Mamma Leone’s a famous Italian restaurant in New York City (open from 1906 to 1994) had it on their menu in 1958, as shown in the picture below.  Photo is courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Mamma Leone's Menu

You will want to make Chicken Parmesan as soon as possible.  It is hearty and delicious, and I feel pretty sure your family will love it and thank you for making it.

Chicken Parmesan

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed and pounded flat
1 egg, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
2 cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or favorite jar brand
6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4  grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the salt and pepper with the bread crumbs.  Dip the chicken breasts in the egg and milk mixture, then in bread crumbs, coating lightly.

In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 cup olive oil.  Add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and cook until golden-brown on each side (2 to 3 minutes for each side).  Add more oil if needed.

Place the chicken in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, to cover the bottom in a single layer. Add 1/4 cup tomato sauce to each of the chicken breasts (spreading evenly) and then add one to two slices of the mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese.  Spoon small amounts of tomato sauce around the chicken in the pan.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is done and the cheese is melted.  

Chicken Parmesan in a Pan

 

Chicken Parmesan

Notes:
1.  Here is a helpful link describing how to pound chicken breasts to an even thickness.
2.  My recipe for Tomato Sauce can be found in this March 2014 post.

 

 

 

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