Growing up in the DC metro area, I didn’t eat a lot of chicken parmesan. I am surrounded by it in New York! You can eat this classic Italian-American dish pretty much anywhere and everywhere. It is served at every casual function. (not to mention eggplant parmesan!)
BUT… Wow! None of it is this good!! This is the perfect indulgent recipe for absolutely fabulous chicken parmesan. Simple and fresh-tasting sauce. Made with boneless skinless chicken thighs too- I think that is the secret to this incredible version. Comfort food at its best. 😉 We ate it with pasta and roasted asparagus. This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. As Melissa Clark says, “hearty, gooey, and satisfying.”
For the Simple Tomato Sauce:
Yield: about 5 cups
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
- 2 sprigs basil or 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add garlic and cook until just lightly golden. Add chile flakes if desired and cook 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomatoes and juices, basil or bay leaf, and salt and pepper.
- Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until sauce is thick and tomatoes have mostly fallen apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to keep at a steady simmer. Mash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to help them break down. Remove sauce from heat and discard basil or bay leaf.
For the Casserole:
Yield: Serves 6
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 10)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 to 3 cups panko bread crumbs, as needed
- coarse salt, as needed
- freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
- 5 cups Simple Tomato Sauce (recipe above)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- ½ pound fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces
- noodles for serving, if desired
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken thighs between two pieces of parchment or plastic wrap. Using a kitchen mallet or rolling pin, pound meat to even 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Place flour, eggs and panko into three wide, shallow bowls.
- Season meat generously with salt and pepper.
- Dip a piece in flour, then eggs, then coat with panko. Repeat until all the meat is coated.
- Fill a large skillet with 1/4-inch oil. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.) Place over medium to medium-high heat.
- When oil is hot, fry cutlets in batches, turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet pan or plate.
- Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle one-third of the Parmesan over sauce.
- Place half of the cutlets over the Parmesan and top with half the mozzarella pieces.
- Top with half the remaining sauce, sprinkle with another third of the Parmesan, and repeat layering, ending with a final layer of sauce and Parmesan.
- Transfer pan to oven and bake until cheese is golden and casserole is bubbling, about 25 minutes (on convection) but up to 40 minutes (in a standard oven). Let cool a few minutes before serving.
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