What: Parmesan Chicken
Where: Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Who: Ina Garten
The only complaint I have about this wonderful dish is the time is takes to pan-fry every piece of chicken. The method –
- dip in flour mixture
- dip in egg mixture
- dip in breadcrumb mixture
– is not hard. No. It’s just that the standing over the frying pan (3 minutes per side, per batch, 4 batches…do the math) is time-consuming and tiresome. That’s just the truth. However, I had visions of my southern grandma, and generations untold of southern grandmas, standing aproned at the stove for hours making the good ol’ fried chicken and chicken fried steak for her people. This is love! So, the apron came on and I got to work. The “let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” rang in my ears and, I’m happy to say, I did not give up. And boy, we’ll be reaping all week!
This Parmesan Chicken is really chicken fried steak. You pound the meat to a 1/4 inch thick, dredge it, and fry it. It’s that simple. It would absolutely sing over mashed potatoes. But Ina served it with salad greens and lemon vinaigrette on top, and I served it over lemon-braised asparagus.
Ina calls for 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts; I used 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (still pounded to 1/4 inch thick). She called for dry bread crumbs; I had none, so I put Udi’s gluten free bread in the food processor and made fresh bread crumbs. For the 1 cup of flour, I used 1 cup Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Flour Mix. (Though I did not need this much…1/2-3/4 cup would have been plenty). The cooking time was written as 2-3 minutes per side, but the thighs (dark meat) took a little longer. Lastly, Ina says to mix the salt and pepper into the flour, but I do not care for this method. The salt falls to the bottom of the flour and thus doesn’t get evenly dispersed among the chicken. I will salt-and-pepper the chicken first next time (even do it the day before). And I will fry on my cast iron griddle to speed up the process.
I cooked all 8 thighs because the leftovers will be fabulous…just a quick reheat in the skillet, and they’ll crisp right up again. Or sliced and served cold over a salad. Easy.