Chicken parmesan is a delicious Italian dish that has become very popular around the globe. Chefs in numerous Italian restaurants in Italy and many other parts of the world offer some type of chicken Parmesan. Chicken Parmesan is named for the Italian region of Parma, where the dish is thought to have originated; and may or may not include Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The outer "crust" and creamy topping are the trademarks of this dish.
Creating a Crunchy Crust
Boneless chicken breasts are used in the preparation of the dish. The breasts should be rinsed in cold water and pat dry using paper towels. In a large bowl, combine melted butter and minced garlic. In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, pepper, Italian seasoning, salt and garlic salt. Dredge the chicken pieces into the garlic-butter mixture and then coat in the crumb mixture.
There are other ways to prepare the chicken to make a great crust. Place some Ritz crackers in a resealable plastic bag. Close the bag, allowing some air to get in. Utilizing a rolling pin or coffee mug, smash the crackers so that they end up in crumbs. Get another resealable plastic bag to mix all the crumbs and chicken pieces together.
Make sure you add the crackers and other chicken pieces bit by bit so that it is easier for you to mix all the ingredients in the end. Add some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Make sure you utilize good quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Seal and then press on the bag and shake a bit until each of the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated. If you prefer a bit of spice in this dish, incorporate a few pinches of cayenne pepper. It's ideal to let the chicken sit in the marinade for a while to keep moisture in.
When cooking the chicken itself, roast in a shallow baking dish at 450 degrees F. until the exterior is brown and crisp, and the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Cooking time should be about 25 to 30 minutes, but you should check on the chicken every 10 minutes. If it is turning too brown, reduce the heat to 400 degrees and add 5 minutes to the entire cooking time. Alternately, you can pan fry the chicken partially, and finish the dish in the oven.
Making a Rich and Creamy Sauce
Marinara sauce is the typical sauce used for chicken Parmesan. It is also preferred most of the time because it gives you more room to control the taste. To make a rich chicken Parmesan sauce, sauté onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil until the onions become soft. Throw in some carrot pieces and cook for a couple of minutes. Mix in whole peeled tomatoes and mash them up as you cook. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes. Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken breasts. Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and then mozzarella cheese over the chicken. Pour any remaining sauce around the breasts. Bake the whole dish in the oven for about 10 minutes, or place under a broiler for 2 to 3 minutes.
And there you have it, some quick and easy ways to make your chicken Parmesan crunchy and creamy. A simple bread crumb and Parmesan combination can give your chicken pieces a crunchy coating that keeps them juicy inside.