Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

Chicken parmesan to die for

The main danger when eating chicken parmesan is that, no matter how much you scoff, you’ll be left wanting more.

This I realised last weekend when I made four big portions of the Italian-American classic.

One wasn’t enough of course and the big greedy gut that I am, I put away two, savouring every


And even then, with a belly on me like Fatty Arbuckle’s older (and bigger) brother Clarence, I was hoping the wean wouldn’t eat all of hers so I could swoop in for the left-overs.

Even now, salivating at the memory, I’m planning a re-run of the chicken parmesans this weekend. This time I’ll only make as many as we need though, so as to avoid the gluttony.

You couldn’t eat them every day, either. Well, you could but then you’d wind up bigger than Clarence. As tasty as they are, chicken parmesans aren’t be the healthiest things you could lovingly masticate. For a start, they’re fried and then not one but two loads of cheese are added.

Mama mia!

Consider this a gift of a recipe from me to you, dear reader. But bear in mind, it’s one that should be used sparingly.

(serves four, or two greedy guts)

2 chicken breasts
big pinch of onion granules
salt and pepper
cup of plain flour
2 eggs, whisked
cup of breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying
four small handfuls of grated mozzarella
lots of parmesan
basil leaves
pasta to serve


olive oil
tin chopped tomatoes
clove of garlic
pinch of oregano
half teaspoon of sugar
salt and pepper

If you’re after maximum taste here, you’re better off making your own tomato sauce.

Add a glug of oil to a frying pan and before you add heat to the equation, add the grated garlic.

Turn the heat on and as soon as the garlic begins to sizzle in the oil, give it a swirl around and then dump in the tin of tomatoes, the oregano and the sugar. Bring to a simmer and reduce until thick – about ten minutes – and then adjust the seasoning. It might also need another touch of sugar.

That done, put out the flour, whisked eggs and bread crumbs into three separate receptacles – for easy dredging. Season the flour with the onion granules and some salt and pepper.

Now, cut the chicken fillets in half and, one half at a time, put them in a freezer bag and pound with a rolling pin until flat.

You want them no more than a centimetre thick.

Again, one at a time, run each half-fillet through the flour (first), then the eggs and lastly the breadcrumbs.

In a large frying pan, add enough vegetable oil so that it’s half a centimetre deep and heat until it’s nice and hot, but not so hot that it’s smoking.

Depending on how big your frying pan is, you might be able to do them all at the same time, though you may have to do this in two stages.

Basically, you want to fry the chicken for about five minutes altogether, flipping halfway, so they’re crisp and golden. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Add these to a baking sheet and place a handful of the mozzarella on each golden fillet, then blast the fillets under the grill until the cheese starts melting. No more than a minute.

Remove from the grill and divide the tomato sauce between the four (you probably won’t need all the sauce) and then top each fillet with lots and lots of finely grated parmesan.

Return the fillets to the grill for one last session of heat and when they’re bubbling and irresistible, your mission is over. Again, no more than a minute.

Lastly, top with some torn basil and serve up with some pasta and/or garlic bread. Added pesto in either is optional.

Mama mia!

Read the full story in this week’s paper, available in your local newsagents today or subscribe to our Digital Edition by clicking below