The History of Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan, or Parmigiana, is a dish that has become a staple in Italian-American cuisine. Its roots can be traced back to the southern region of Italy, particularly the area around Naples, where it is known as Parmigiana di melanzane, a dish made with eggplant. The dish was originally created to use up extra vegetables during the summer months while they were in abundance, and it wasn’t until the dish was brought to the United States that it began incorporating chicken as the main protein.
The first record of Chicken Parmesan being served in the United States was in the early 20th century. It was served in Italian-American restaurants and quickly became a hit due to its flavorful combination of crispy, breaded chicken and melted mozzarella cheese smothered in homemade marinara sauce. The dish was simple to make and was often served family-style, making it a popular item for large gatherings and celebrations.
Over time, the dish has evolved to become a true comfort food. Its popularity has spread beyond Italian-American communities, and it can be found in many restaurants throughout the world. Today, Chicken Parmesan is a dish that is loved by many, and its rich history and cultural significance continue to make it a beloved classic.
The Best Cuts of Chicken for Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan is amazingly delicious and there are different types of chicken cuts that you can choose from when preparing it. The three most common cuts of chicken perfect for Chicken Parmesan are boneless skinless breasts, thighs, and tenderloins. The ideal thickness for the chicken cutlets should be about 1/4 inch so that they cook evenly and quickly.
Tips for Trimming and Pounding the Meat for Even Cooking
Before cooking the chicken, it’s important to trim the fat from the edges and pound the chicken cutlets evenly. The chicken cutlets should be placed between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pounded with a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even thickness. Pounding the meat ensures that it cooks evenly and reduces the risk of dry and overcooked chicken.
- Begin by trimming any excess fat from the edges of the chicken cutlets with a sharp knife. This will prevent the chicken from curling up as it cooks.
- Place each chicken cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap, leaving enough space between each cutlet for pounding.
- Use a meat mallet or a rolling pin to gently pound the chicken cutlets to an even thickness, about 1/4 inch thick.
The Key Ingredients for Chicken Parmesan
If you’re eager to make a delicious Chicken Parmesan dish, then the first step is to ensure that you have all the key ingredients in your kitchen. Here are some of the essential ingredients that you must have:
For Chicken Parmesan, the star of the show is obviously the chicken. You should choose boneless and skinless chicken breasts and pound them to an even thickness to ensure even cooking.
The breading is what gives the chicken its crispy exterior. The classic breading is made up of flour, eggs, and panko breadcrumbs. Seasoning the flour and breadcrumbs will greatly enhance the flavors.
Cheese is an integral part of Chicken Parmesan. You will need both mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Mozzarella cheese is melted over the chicken, while Parmesan is cleaned over the top.
The Tomato Sauce
The tomato sauce serves as the bed for the crispy chicken. You can use a good-quality store-bought tomato sauce or make your own.
Basil and garlic are the typical seasonings used to flavor the tomato sauce. But please feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices that you like, such as oregano or thyme.
The Secret Techniques for Breading Chicken for Chicken Parmesan
If you want to make delicious Chicken Parmesan that has that perfectly crispy and golden-brown texture, mastering the art of breading chicken is a must. Here are some secret techniques to get the job done right:
Tip #1: Use Fresh, High-Quality Chicken
The first step in breading chicken for Chicken Parmesan is choosing the right chicken. You want to use fresh, high-quality chicken breasts that are evenly sized. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and tastes great.
Tip #2: Create a Breading Station
Creating a breading station is essential when it comes to breading chicken for Chicken Parmesan. This involves setting up three bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with seasoned breadcrumbs. This way, the chicken breasts can be coated in each ingredient in turn, ensuring that the breading sticks and cooks properly.
Tip #3: Pound the Chicken to Even Thickness
One of the most common mistakes people make when breading chicken is not preparing the chicken breast properly. It’s best to pound the chicken to an even thickness; this ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and reduces the risk of over- or under-cooking.
Tip #4: Double Coat for Extra Crispiness
If you want to achieve that extra crispy texture that sets Chicken Parmesan apart, double coating is the way to go. After coating the chicken in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, dip it back into the egg mixture before coating it in breadcrumbs again. This double-coating will ensure an even crispier breading that will leave your taste buds dancing.
The Art of Layering Chicken Parmesan
Chicken parmesan is a classic Italian-American dish that is a crowd-pleaser. The dish is made up of breaded chicken cutlets that are layered with tomato sauce and cheese before being baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly. The key to mastering this dish is the art of layering.
1. Breaded Chicken Cutlets
The first layer of the dish is the breaded chicken cutlets. For the perfect chicken cutlets, you need to make sure that they are of even thickness and that they are breaded well. This means that each cutlet should be coated in flour, then egg, and finally breadcrumbs before being fried to golden brown.
2. Tomato Sauce
The second layer of the dish is the tomato sauce. A good tomato sauce can make or break this dish, so itâ€™s important to get it right. You can use a store-bought tomato sauce or make your own. If youâ€™re making your own sauce, be sure to cook it for at least 30 minutes to ensure that all the flavors meld together.
The final layer of the dish is the cheese. Traditionally, chicken parmesan is made with mozzarella cheese, but you can mix it up by adding other cheeses like Parmesan, provolone, or even cheddar. Itâ€™s important to use a good-quality cheese that will melt evenly.
The ratio of breaded chicken cutlets to tomato sauce to cheese is a matter of personal preference. Some people like a lot of tomato sauce, while others prefer more cheese. Experiment with the ratios to find what works best for you.
5. Adjusting Ratios to Suit Your Taste Preferences
If you like your chicken parmesan saucier, add more tomato sauce. If you like it cheesier, add more cheese. You can also add other ingredients like garlic, fresh herbs, or even vegetables like spinach or mushrooms to enhance the flavor of the dish.
With these tips, you can master the art of cooking chicken parmesan at home and create a personalized version of this classic dish that suits your taste preferences.
The Best Sides and Sauces to Serve with Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan is a classic, hearty, and flavorful Italian dish that has become a favorite for many households. This delicious dish is made by coating chicken breasts in a crispy breadcrumb and parmesan cheese crust and then topping them with creamy tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese before being baked to perfection. With its crispy and cheesy texture, there’s nothing like it when served alongside some equally tasty sides and sauces to complement it. Here are some ideas to get you started:
The Best Side Dishes for Chicken Parmesan
When it comes to pairing side dishes with Chicken Parmesan, you can get creative. Here are some of the most common and delicious options:
- Pasta dishes- Spaghetti or Fettuccine Alfredo is a great choice that helps to balance out the flavors.
- Steamed or roasted vegetables- Broccoli, asparagus, or green beans complement chicken parmesan, offering a vibrant and healthy option.
- Garlic bread- crispy baked Italian bread, brushed with garlic butter, is a classic side that everyone loves.
- Salad- A fresh garden salad filled with leafy greens tossed in a simple dressing is a perfect contrast to the hearty Chicken Parmesan dish.
The Best Sauces for Chicken Parmesan
If you are looking to add to the flavor of your Chicken Parmesan, dipping them into sauce is a perfect overall touch. Here are some of the most popular sauce options:
- Marinara sauce- This classic tomato sauce works wonders with Chicken Parmesan and can be used as a base for other sauces.
- Pesto- Basil pesto sauce is loaded with all the herbaceous flavors and the right amount of garlic that matches the crispy chicken cutlets coated in parmesan cheese.
- Alfredo sauce- This creamy, cheesy sauce can either be used as a dip or on top of the chicken cutlets.
The Best Beverages to Pair with Chicken Parmesan
A glass of red wine is an excellent accompaniment when serving Chicken Parmesan, providing a velvety finish to the palate, nicely complementing the rich tomato sauce and cheese. Here are some of the best beverage options:
- Pinot Noir
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Thanks for Reading
Now that you’ve learned the secrets to making the perfect chicken parmesan, you can impress your family and friends with your newfound culinary skills. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or just a cozy night in, this delicious dish is sure to please. We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you’ll visit our site again for more great recipes and cooking tips!
Mastering the Art of Cooking Chicken Parmesan at Home
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them to an even thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
- Set up a dredging station with three shallow bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour. In the second bowl, beat the eggs. In the third bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Coat each chicken breast in flour, then dip in the egg mixture, making sure it's fully coated. Finally, coat the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the crumbs onto the chicken to make them stick.
- Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Then, spoon the marinara sauce over each piece of chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve it hot with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!