Often at this time of year, we are packing up and getting ready to head out to Australia for the summer. This year looks a little different of course, and as the weather cools down here in Europe I catch myself imagining sitting in the sunny courtyard of a Sydney pub, sipping wine and eating delicious pub food. The menu at nearly every big pub in Australia is fairly much the same, filled with much loved, crowd-pleasing classics, and there is none the Aussies have taken to heart like the ever-popular Chicken Parmigiana.
Chicken Parmigiana or Chicken Parmesan (known colloquially in Australia as simply a ‘parmy’) with crumbed chicken smothered in a rich tomato sauce and mounds of melting cheese is the sort of meal it is impossible to dislike. With bright Mediterranean flavours, especially when topped with fresh basil, this is a dish that sings of summer.
While there are a couple of steps to this recipe, none are particularly taxing or time-consuming. The chicken is quickly crumbed and fried, the sauce comes together in minutes and the whole thing is finished off in the oven. I like to serve mine with a crisp salad and, obviously, an icy cold glass of Australian chardonnay or a tall and frosty beer.
You can prepare Chicken Parmigiana in advance – the sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept chilled, while you can crumb the chicken up to 24 hours in advance. That means when it comes to the cooking time it is just an assembly job, making this an ideal weeknight dinner or weekend lunch.
Chicken Parmigiana is a 20th century take on the much older Italian dish melanzane alla Parmigiana – or crumbed eggplant, so if you fancy making this dish vegetarian, you can try sliced eggplant instead! Everyone seems to love Chicken Parmigiana – how do you cook yours? Let me know in the comments below! xJ
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
for the chicken:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp plain flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 75g fresh breadcrumbs
- 25g Parmesan, grated
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper
for the sauce:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 500ml tomato passata
- 125ml white wine
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- small bunch fresh basil, leaves torn
- 125g fresh mozzarella, drained and torn
- 50g Parmesan, grated
- black pepper
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Halve the chicken breasts horizontally so you have 4 evenly thick pieces. Season well with salt, pepper and oregano, pressing them onto the chicken.
- Spread the flour over a plate, pour the egg into a shallow bowl, whisk together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and spread over a second plate. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, toss the chicken in the flour, dip in the beaten egg, then press in the breadcrumb mixture so that both sides are well coated. Repeat with all remaining pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken for 2 minutes on each side, then remove to a rack.
- To make the sauce, heat the oil in the same frying pan that you used for the chicken. Cook the garlic for 1 minute until just fragrant. Pour in the passata and white wine, then stir through the oregano, salt and sugar. Season well with black pepper, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the basil.
- To assemble the dish, spread 4 tablespoons of the sauce over the base of a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Place the chicken on top, pour over the remaining tomato sauce, leaving some crumbed edges visible and top each breast with mozzarella and Parmesan. Drizzle over a little more olive oil, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Divide the chicken between 4 warmed plates, sprinkle over the remaining basil leaves and serve immediately with a crisp green salad.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1060Total Fat: 58gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 267mgSodium: 2718mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 70g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Chicken Parmigiana in advance?
You can prepare Chicken Parmigiana in advance – the sauce can be made up to 3 days before you need it and kept chilled, while you can crumb the chicken up to 24 hours beforehand.
Do I have to make my own sauce for Chicken Parmigiana?
I think this is a super quick and easy sauce, but if you are really pressed for time, use a good quality jar of pasta sauce instead.
The recipe calls for ‘fresh breadcrumbs’ – where do I get them?
I always save my stale bread and whizz it up to breadcrumbs in the food processor when I need it. It’s always worth asking your local bakery if they sell breadcrumbs, they are perfect for this sort of dish and usually very cheap. Otherwise, I’d recommend Japanese-style Panko breadcrumbs.