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Quick Chicken Parmesan

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 107

Crisp chicken cutlets are topped with two cheeses and a super-fast tomato sauce in this easy take on an Italian restaurant favorite.

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (about 14 oz.)
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (use the small holes on a box grater)
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • One 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes (preferably Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped (1/2 oz.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a wide, shallow dish. In a second wide, shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs with 1 Tbs. water. Put the panko in a third wide, shallow dish. Season the chicken with salt and coat each piece in the flour, tapping off the excess, then the egg, and then the panko, pressing the panko to help it adhere.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, cook the chicken, flipping once, until the crumbs are golden and the chicken is almost cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adding 2 Tbs. more oil for the second batch. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chicken with the Parmigiano and then top evenly with the mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, wipe the skillet clean and set over medium heat. Pour in the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and then add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and 1/4 tsp. salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with pasta on the side and toasty Garlic-Parmesan Bread.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 480; Fat (g): fat g 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 33; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 24; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 610; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 160; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Very good weeknight recipe. I have made it several times and it always comes out juicy and flaverful. Two alterations: 1) I pound out the chicken to about 1/2" thickness so they cook a little faster and more of the coating comes into contact with the pan; and 2) as noted by some other readers, I add red pepper flakes to the sauce to give it some extra flavor. One thing to watch: some brands of "fresh" mozzarella contain a lot of water, which seeps out when this dish is in the oven and can make the crisp coating mushy. I have gone to using low moisture mozzarella, and either cut it into slices or shred it just before use.

I really enjoyed this recipe. It is simple, tasty and easy. My only complaint is that it took me way longer than 30 minutes from start to finish. I think next time I will skip pan frying the chicken and just bake it. That would cut back on the amount of oil needed as well.

Quick, easy, delicious, what more can you say? Great keeper recipe to put in the rotation or just if you need to whip something up in a pinch. I added a bit of fresh oregano and basil from my garden, along with a dash of crushed red pepper to get the sauce on its hind legs.

Majorly delicious! When my husband and I made it I couldn't find the panko so we crumbled up some saltine crackers and added those crispy onions you put on top of your salad. It rocked! We also used a bottled sauce to save time. The chicken was moist and flavorful, the recipe easy to make. I cannot see going to a restaurant and ordering chicken parm again. This was so much better than what you can buy. My advice, make it tonight!

My family loved this recipe! It was so quick and easy to make. The kids preferred it without the fresh mozzarella on top so next time I will make half with and half without. This made for a great 'comfort food' meal without some of the guilt a restaurant style version would leave me with.

I've wanted to make this ever since I saw the recipe, so last night, I finally made it. It was delicious! The Panko bread crumbs makes all the difference in the world, to providing a nice crunch to the breading. Next time, I may add some Italian sesoning to the bread crumbs. I flattened the chicken breasts before breading, to about 1/2 inch. Doing so, I had to bake the chicken longer, but it still came out very moist and flavorful. I did not use the sauce provided in the recipe, but doctored up some Ragu. However, I will definitely give the sauce a try. Another key to the success of this recipe is the use of fresh Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Using fresh will make a huge difference. This recipe is definitely a winner!

My very picky family loved this. My son even said he wanted the extra chicken for his lunch at school!! That means it was a big hit.

This recipe was great for weeknights. The chicken is moist but not soggy from the sauce and it can be held in the oven if necessary. I served it with Fettuccine Alfredo and a salad. It is good enough to serve company. Enjoy!

Very good recipe.I added about 1/4 cup of red wine to the sauce before adding the tomato. I also flattened the chicken for even thickness.

Nice,easy recipe, good flavor.

This is a great recipe. The chicken was very moist, as was mentioned by others. I found I needed more oil in the cooking process, but not a big deal. The sauce was fast and tasty. I only use the fire roasted Muir Glen tomatoes whenever I need canned tomatoes, as their flavor is incredible. I will certainly make this again!

This is a quick recipe for a weeknight dinner. The chicken was juicy, and the coating was crispy and non-greasy. The sauce was very flavorful-I used the Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes as directed, and they made a difference. I also tossed in some crushed red pepper, just because I prefer my sauce on the spicy side. The only nit I have to pick was the sauce was too thick for my liking. I added some water to the sauce, but it was still too thick. Next time I'll add some red wine to the sauce.

This is a quick recipe for a weeknight dinner. The chicken was juicy, and the coating was crispy and non-greasy. The sauce was very flavorful-I used the Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes as directed, and they made a difference. I also tossed in some crushed red pepper, just because I prefer my sauce on the spicy side. The only nit I have to pick was the sauce was too thick for my liking. I added some water to the sauce, but it was still too thick. Next time I'll add some red wine to the sauce.

Made this last night and it is fabulous. Chicken was tender, juicy and flavorful. I used full chicken breasts pounded and the sauce was leftover pizza sauce I had on hand to which I added onion and additional garlic. And very simple and fast.

Worked perfectly as directed. Delicious! I didn't change a thing, and used the Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes as suggested. The only thing to keep in mind is to do all your prep ahead of time so it goes quickly. I served it with whole wheat angel hair pasta (tossed with evoo and s&p), and grilled zucchini.

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