A classic American-Italian dish.
Throughout the years I made loads of Eggplant Parmesan (and more recently Zucchini Parmesan) but strangely overlooked the chicken version. Such a shame as it is a really tasty dish!
I tried the “Best Chicken Parmesan” recipe from Serious Eats because I had read various rave reviews elsewhere with respect to buttermilk marinated fried chicken. To complete the dish, I tried (again) their slow-cooked tomato sauce as it’s only 15 minutes prep time (and 6 hours oven time) for a very nice and intensely flavoured sauce.
What worked and what didn’t:
The rave reviews are correct: this is by far the most succulent fried chicken we had. The kids absolutely loved it too and were taken by surprise that the chicken was marinated in buttermilk (which they hate…).
The addition of some buttermilk and flour in the egg wash and the parmesan to the breadcrumbs and makes the coating super tasty and crunchy. The chicken even stayed slightly crunchy even after topping it with tomato sauce and mozzarella cubes and cooking in the oven.
Okay, it does take some extra time to bread and fry the chicken fillets and you have to wait about 15-20 minutes before it comes out of the oven, but I can assure you: it’s well worth the wait!!
The only flaw we met was that this time the tomato sauce turned out a bit acidic and not with a hint of sweetness. This is most likely caused by my choice not to go for the recommended San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes (8 x 400g cans at EUR 2 each was a bit excessive just for the sauce) but settling for Heinz’ Peeled Bio Tomatoes instead. I definitely will be searching for more affordable large 1.6kg cans of San Marzano tomatoes at the wholesale grocery shops when making the sauce again.
The recipe is intended for 4-6 persons and that is about right as it is based on 3 (horizontally halved) chicken breasts. We had 4 chicken breasts and had plenty of ingredients and therefore lucky enough to enjoy it 2 days (in separate batches).
For the second batch we lowered the amount of buttermilk by about a third (250ml/1 cup instead of 375ml / 1.5 cup). So even with only 1.5 (instead of the recommended 4) hours to marinade the chicken, it had a much stronger and nicer (i.e. garlicky) flavour than the first batch. Furthermore, I topped it with the leftover breadcrumb/parmesan mixture before finishing it off in the oven. Highly recommended as it gives an extra crunchy and gooey layer.
Verdict: 9/10; definitely it will be made again.