Monday, October 5, 2009

Quick Chicken Parmesan

My love affair with Italian food continues. Today I made a semi-quick chicken Parmesan, which means I pan-fried the breaded chicken and then spooned tomato sauce on top and just let the heat melt the cheese, as opposed to placing it all in the oven for a quick bake. It was luscious - the crisp breading of the chicken kept it moist and the flavorful tomato sauce topped with shredded parmesan was delicious.

The breading is a variation on my sister's Martha's famous fried chicken, what I was planning to call "Martified Fried Chicken" when I was planning to open an Inn (view some of my hilarious attempts to literally build my Lovejoy Inn.) She uses a combination of oat flour, whole wheat flour, ground flax seeds and rolled oats to create a crispy delight to which I have yet to find an equal. Since I am in frugal mode, I ended up chopping up some rolled oats for the oat flour and doing without the flax seeds. Not as authentically Martified, but still very good.

While the total prep time for me was about 1 hour and 15 minutes since I made the tomato sauce (I'm being extra frugal these days and had some leftover canned tomatoes in the refrig), this could easily be a "30 minute meal" as many people seem to want these days. Unlike the baked version, this approach does not keep well since it's essentially a restaurant style dish; you place the fried chicken on a plate and top it with the sauce and cheese so there's little structure to it. If you hold back pieces of chicken and extra sauce, you can repeat the process later and simply heat up the chicken, either in a microwave or wrapped in foil (to keep it from drying out) in an oven at 350 degrees.

Chicken Parmesan (2 servings)

1 chicken breast, boneless, fileted into two pieces
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 cup tomato sauce
shredded parmesan cheese to pass at the table
oil for frying

Chop 1/3 of cup of rolled oats either by hand or in a food processor or blender. Add to remaining rolled oats and wheat flour and add salt and pepper and mix well. Place on plate. Place beaten egg in a bowl large enough to dip in chicken filets. Using left hand, dip chicken in egg on both sides and place on plate with breading mixture. Using right hand pile mixture on chicken and flip to coat evenly. Repeat with other filet and set aside to rest. Meanwhile, heat tomato sauce on low heat on stove and keep warm. Pan fry breaded cutlets in about 1/4 inch of oil until browned on both sides. Cut into cutlet to make sure it is done. Remove from stove and spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with cheese.


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