My husband recently had a birthday and every year he asks for chicken parmigiana (or pollo alla parmigiana) for his home dinner (we don’t get out much these days). For as long as we’ve been together and we are out for dinner, if parmigiana is on the menu, he’ll order it for sure! His loyalty to this dish is a little bit endearing, but as I like to experience new taste sensations, it can also be a bit frustrating.
Chicken parmigiana is a staple in Australian pubs (pub grub in the local vernacular). Our local pub advertises a parma and beer special every Tuesday night. It’s crumbed and fried and often served with chips or spaghetti bolognese. It’s meat, it’s carbs and it’s fat. It’s the perfect dude food. I’d like to think that this version is a slightly healthier version though, plus I always serve mine with a salad instead of chips or spaghetti.
- Chicken breasts (how many depends on how many dudes you are feeding – one large breast should feed one hungry dude)
- Plain flour
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs, whisked
- Bottle of passata or sugo (a tin of chopped tomatoes will also work)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmasen cheese (optional)
- Olive oil
Cut the chicken breast into pieces (I usually cut them into three) and tenderise them with a meat tenderiser. It’s a great way to get rid of your frustrations for the day! Don’t bash them until they are too thin otherwise the chicken will tear.
Set up your crumbing ingredients: flour on one plate, breadcrumbs on another plate and a bowl for the whisked eggs. I also have a clean plate for the crumbed chicken. Season the flour with salt and pepper.
First dust the chicken with flour. Remove any excess before adding the chicken to the whisked egg. I use a fork to coat the chicken but fingers are easier. Let the excess egg wash drip off before transferring the chicken to the breadcrumbs. Coat by pressing the chicken down to ensure it is properly covered.
Admittedly this a very large amount of crumbed chicken. I’m going to freeze some for the kids dinners and also my husband likes left over parmigiana to make parmigiana sandwiches for lunch…you read that correctly…parmigiana sandwiches!
In a large frying pan with a good amount of hot olive oil, pan fry the crumbed chicken until golden brown. If you want a nice chicken schnitzel you can serve it right now. My father always insisted in cooking schnitzel in butter and olive oil, but in the interests of self preservation, i.e. lowering cholesterol, a vegetable oil is better for you. Remove any excess oil by placing the chicken on some absorbent paper towels.
In a large oven dish, or baking tray, place your crumbed chicken pieces so they don’t overlap too much. Pour over the passata or sugo sauce until all the pieces are well covered. Sprinkle over some grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese, though the parmesan is optional. My husband doesn’t like having too much cheese on top but if you like things cheesy, then cheese away!
Bake in a moderately hot oven (180C/350F) for around 30 minutes or until the sauce starts bubbling and the cheese browns slightly. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving. As this dish is the ultimate dude food, an ice cold pale ale or Pilsner beer is the perfect accompaniment.
Happy birthday my love 😘