I’ve personally never had or heard of anyone having a bad chicken parmesan. It’s chicken, tomato sauce, and cheese – a blend of all things delicious, and hence making a good chicken parm isn’t difficult. But, neither is making a great one. So why settle for good, when great is just around the grill? With a few small tweaks and tricks, you can transform an ordinary (but delicious) chicken parmesan into a crunchy cheesy chicken delight.
There are 4 steps to a better-than-the-best chicken parmesan – bread, fry, assemble and bake. And while these steps might be time-intensive, on the other side, lies cr-rr-unchy chicken cutlet that is juicy and tender on the inside, slathered with a layer of thick tarty tomato sauce, and topped off with a decent sprinkle of nutty-salty parmesan and gooey mozzarella. Word to the wise, instead of grating/shredding the mozzarella, chop it into small chunks and drizzle over the chicken. This way, once baked, the chicken will have little spots (blobs) of melted, slightly browned, silky mozzarella all over, biting into which will seem like tasing a little bit of heaven. Trust me, this is one recipe, you don’t want to skimp on.
Two Prep Steps for Crunchiest Chicken Cutlet:
Pound butterflied chicken breast evenly into 1/2 to 1/3 inch thick piece. If chicken is thicker than that then crumbs will brown up but chicken will remain uncooked from within. And if it’s too thin, you will not have a juice chunk of chicken to bite into, and the chicken will dry out by the time crumb coating is browned.
Switch regular bread crumbs for Panko: These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are drier than regular breadcrumbs and excellent for breading. They stick to the chicken well and absorb less oil when fried. The end result? Crunchier cutlets.
Making Chicken Parmesan:
Prepare the breading:
Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
Season butterflied and evenly pounded chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Using a sift, sprinkle all-purpose flour on chicken breasts. Pat, turn, and sprinkle again to coat both sides of the filet evenly with flour. Crack two eggs in a bowl or plate and whisk lightly till yolk is blended. In another flat dish, take panko breadcrumbs, add grated parmesan, and mix well.
Dip flour-coated chicken breast in egg and then in the breadcrumb-cheese mixture. Press the breadcrumbs into the chicken to coat it completely and ensure that breading sticks to the chicken piece properly. Rest breaded chicken piece for 15 minutes.
Fry the chicken:
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, till the outer crumb is nicely browned and chicken is tender from within. Remove fried chicken breasts and rest on a wired rack for 5 minutes.
Assemble Chicken Parmesan:
Place chicken cutlets on a lined/greased baking tray. Spread 1 to 2 tbsp of tomato sauce on top. Add a neat sprinkling of parmesan, and top off with finely cubed mozzarella, dried basil, and olive oil.
Bake at 450°F for 15 to 20 minutes till cheese is melted and bubbly and chicken breasts are cooked (should be 165°F in the center). Rest for 5 minutes and serve hot!
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
3 tbsp olive oil, for frying
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 tsp dried basil
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp olive oil (for topping)
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Season butterflied chicken breasts with salt and pepper and then coat them in all-purpose flour.
- Crack two eggs in a bowl, and whisk gently till yolks blend with the whites. In another bowl or plate, take panko bread crumbs, add grated parmesan and mix well.
- Dip chicken in egg and then coat them well with panko, cheese mix. Rest for 15 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add breaded chicken pieces in and cook for 2 minutes on each side till brown and tender. Remove and place on a wired rack, and rest for 10 minutes.
- Place chicken cutlets on a lined baking tray. Add 1 to 2 tbsps of tomato sauce, grated parmesan, cubed mozzarella, dried basil, and olive oil on top.
- Bake at 450°F for 15 to 20 minutes, till cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through. Rest for 5 minutes, and serve hot!