Recipe video above. Known as Chicken Parmesan in the US, the three key things that makes this the best Parmi you'll ever have in your life are: layers upon layers on seasoning, dry brining for the most juicy chicken ever, and extra crispy chicken. Because I'll never understand why you'd go to the trouble of making crispy crumbed chicken if the whole thing goes soggy when smothered in tomato sauce!Bonus baked option in Note 10. So golden and crunchy it will blow your mind!
Cuisine: Italian, Western
Keyword: chicken parmesan, chicken parmigiana, parmi
Brined Chicken Marinade (Note 1):
3chicken breasts (300g/10z each), halved horizontally to form 6 pieces (Note 2)
Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, pepper and Italian herbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Parmigiana Tomato Sauce:
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 3 minutes until onion is translucent.
Add red pepper flakes and herbs, stir for 15 seconds. Add wine, turn up heat and let it simmer rapidly until mostly evaporated and winey smell is gone.
Add tomato, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Cover, then simmer 10 minutes on low until thickened. Cover and keep warm.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Crumbing set up: Spread flour out in a shallow bowl. Whisk Egg Dredge in a separate shallow bowl. Mix Crumbing ingredients in a third shallow bowl or pan.
Dredge & crumb: Press both sides of chicken into flour, then shake off excess. Coat in egg, letting excess drip off, then place in Crumbing, pressing to adhere.
Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
Frying (Note 10 for baked option):
Line a tray with paper towels and place rack on tray.
Heat 1.5 - 2cm / 2/3" oil in a skillet over medium high heat to 180°C/350°F (Note 9).
Carefully place 2 or 3 pieces of chicken in. Cook 2 minutes until underside is golden, then carefully turn and cook the other side for 1 1/2 minutes.
Transfer to rack, then repeat with remaining chicken. (Note 12 - oil clean and reuse)
Assembling & baking:
Place chicken on a tray. Spoon 1/3 cup sauce over the chicken - cover around 80% of the chicken, leave the ends crispy.
Sprinkle sauce with basil, then mozzarella cheese (pile it on in mounds to use it all up), then sprinkle with parmesan. Drizzle oil over parmesan.
Bake 15 minutes until cheese is melted and there's a few brown spots - no longer, otherwise chicken will overcook.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with extra basil if desired. Serve immediately (with leftover Tomato Sauce, if you'd like!)
1. Brined chicken for juiciness - essential to keep chicken juicy through the double cook (which technically overcooks the chicken!). Dry brining works like a wet marinade to trap moisture in the chicken so it will be beautifully juicy even after the double cook. We don't want a wet marinade because water will leech out of the chicken and make the crumb soggy. Read in post for more information.2. Chicken - works like a dream with boneless thighs as well, in fact it's juicier! Pound to even thickness, use 6 pieces.3. Salt - table salt is finer so by volume, you need less otherwise it will be too salty. Doesn't matter with the other recipe components, but does matter for brining.4. Mixed Italian Herbs - buy it premixed (it's a standard dried herb) or use equal parts dried basil, parsley, oregano. Or just basil and/or parsley. Even without, it's still excellent! But nice to have a touch of dried herbs in this, for extra special flavour.5. Panko breadcrumbs - larger pieces than normal breadcrumbs which makes for a crunchier, less greasy crust. Can sub with normal, or make your own by blitzing stale bread.6. Parmesan types:
Crumbing - I like using the sand-like store bought grated parmesan (from the fridge, not aisle. If it ain't refrigerated, it ain't cheese! 😂). The grains are larger than finely grating your own at home so you get better flavour pops in the crumb. But grating your own works just as well.
Don't use store bought finely shredded parmesan that looks like tiny batons - they don't stick on as well.
For topping - better finely grated yourself because it melts better - the sandy store bought stuff melts ok but will be a thicker layer and doesn't meld in as well with the mozzarella.
7. Eschallots are also called French Onions. They are the small onions. They're finer so they meld into the sauce better so you virtually can't see them, for an extra smooth sauce. In contrast with normal onions, you will end up with tiny little bits - though softened, so it doesn't really matter. I used onion in the video and photos.8. Tomato passata - pureed, strained pure tomatoes, sometimes labelled Tomato Puree in the US (here's a photo of Mutti Tomato Passata sold at Walmart). Excellent for making smooth sauces quickly, rather than 30 minutes simmering to breakdown tomato chunks. Readily available in Australian supermarkets nowadays, alongside pasta sauces.9. Oil temp - if you don't have thermometer, check by dipping in end of chicken, it should sizzle immediately.10. BAKED option - For the most impossibly golden and crunchy BAKED chicken schnitzel, toast the breadcrumbs first per the Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders recipe. Then mix in the parmesan and crumb per this Chicken Parmigiana recipe (including flour and egg dredge), spray generously with oil and bake at 200°C/390°F for 15 minutes. Then proceed with this recipe!11. Wine - best to use something dry, not too fruity and sweet (like some rieslings) and not too woody (like some chardonnays can be). I'm a sauvignon blanc and pinot gris gal - any will be great in this. But really, any white wine will work well OR red wine. Just 1/4 cup adds a special touch to the sauce! If buying especially, opt for a very discounted bottle, then freeze leftovers into 1/2 cup portions to use in other recipes.Suggestions: sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, pinto gris, semillon or semillon sauvignon blanc. Avoid heavily wooded or very fruit, sweet wines (which some chardonnays and reislings can be, which is why for simplicity I keep them off my list).12. Oil reuse - because the chicken seasoning is pretty subtle, the oil will be clean and suitable for re-use. Cool, then line a colander with paper towel then drain oil. Store for another use - see Fried Recipes. Not a massive collection, just my favourite recipes that I deem fry-worthy!13. Storage - best eaten fresh for optimal eating experience as chicken goes soggy from sauce! Can crumb chicken ahead of time then refrigerate (up to 24 hrs max otherwise starts sweating, and keep leftover breadcrumbs, handy for patching up).Cooked - best to keep cooked schnitzel separate from sauce. Cool then refrigerate. Blast the schnitzel in a 220C/390F oven for 3 - 5 minutes to get the outside crispy as possible (don't go over this otherwise you'll overcook the chicken), then top with sauce and cheese, bake.14. Recipe source - an original recipe by yours truly, tweaked over the years! In particular the subtle layering of flavours is something I've learned from the professionals.