Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Let me preface this post by saying that in general, I am not a very big fan of chicken.  I don’t think it has a very good natural flavor, and I think raw chicken is the worst raw meat to deal with.  However, even though it’s not my favorite I do generally like chicken that has been pounded and sautéed. 
All this is to say that a couple of days ago I made Parmesan Crusted Chicken, and it turned out amazing! 
It started because I wanted to make spaghetti squash for dinner.  Generally, I brown ground beef and add it to marinara along with sautéed mushrooms.  But, on this night, I needed to use some chicken that was in the fridge.  I had always heard of Parmesan Crusted Chicken, but had never tried it.  It sounded like a dish that would go well with my spaghetti squash with marinara so I started where I always do.  I looked for a recipe by Alton Brown.  He didn’t have one, so I went to another chef I really like, Robin Miller.  Robin Miller makes EVERYTHING healthy.  Her Parmesan Crusted Chicken looked really good, and even better is that it was baked.  
Robin’s recipe has directions for parmesan crusted chicken and wasabi tomato sauce separately, so I used the chicken recipe and skipped the tomato sauce recipe so that I could use my own.  You can get the recipe here.
If you want to make it like I did, which my brother, my husband, my friend Aileen (who I cooked it for) and I all HIGHLY recommend.  I was able to use 4 whole chicken breasts (8 halves) with this recipe.  Follow all the directions for the chicken, except:
1.  Pound the chicken after cutting the breasts in half and before seasoning or coating. 
I don’t have a meat tenderizer, so I use a heavy wooden rolling pin.  (Make sure you rinse the chicken with water and dry it with a paper towel before doing anything.)  Lay the chicken on a flat surface (I use a large thin plastic cutting board).  Next, cover the chicken by laying a piece of saran wrap over the top.  This will help keep pieces of nasty raw chicken and nasty raw chicken juice from flying all over your kitchen (ewe!).  Next, beat those suckers.  It won’t take much to thin out the edges of the chicken (you just need to tenderize them), but it will take some power to force the thicker parts of the chicken into submission.  You won’t hurt the chicken.  This process is called tenderizing because that is exactly what you are doing.  The consistency of the chicken will change as you pound it.  Try to make it all about the same thickness, but remember that the most important thing is to make sure all the chicken is the same consistency when you are done. 
2.  Make sure to salt and pepper the chicken before coating it.
I know that the directions say this, but some people like to salt and pepper the flour instead.  Don’t be tempted to do this.  You will loose out on flavor if you don’t salt and pepper the chicken directly.
3.  Add garlic salt and oregano to the Panko bread crumbs and parmesan mixture before coating the chicken.
Panko bread crumbs are a Japanese style bread crumbs (I found them on the ethnic food aisle rather than with the other bread crumbs). 
(picture thanks to
I tasted them and didn’t think there was enough flavor, so I added garlic salt and oregano.  I’m not sure how much I added.  We’ll say 1 tsp. of each.  I would recommend adding some and then tasting the bread crumbs.  If they taste like really good garlic bread, then you’ve seasoned them properly.  (Season the bread crumbs before adding the parmesan cheese.)
4.  Use Fresh Parmesan Cheese.
If you don’t mind splurging just a bit, I would recommend using fresh parmesan cheese and grating it yourself.  I placed a measuring cup inside the bowl that held the bread crumbs so that as I grated the cheese into the measuring cup the fly-aways didn’t go to waste.
5.  Turn the chicken half-way through baking.
The chicken browns on the bottom, so if you turn it half-way though the cooking process the chicken will brown nicely on both sides.  Side note: when you need to turn things during the cooking process make sure to pull the pan all the way out of the oven and then close the oven door as soon as possible.  This will keep the oven from cooling off and then having to reheat during the cooking process, which will cause the food to take longer to cook.
This was the reward for my efforts (You can see that out of 8 halves of chicken breast only 3 are left):
I would love for you to try this and let me know what you think.  You can follow the rest of Robin’s recipe, or you can just whip up some spaghetti with your favorite sauce to go over it.

Signature 2

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...