(Above: Watch the video above to see the process of making this delicious Italian-American dish.)
This recipe works for chicken parmigiana, eggplant parmigiana, beef parmigiana or veal parmigiana.
If you want to make eggplant, beef or veal parmigiana , follow the recipe below, substituting eggplant, beef or veal for the chicken, and omit the sage.
Be sure to buy good quality chicken, eggplant, beef or veal. Good veal should be pink, not brown or gray. And a good eggplant should be dark purple and very firm, with few, if any scars, and no dents or soft spots. If you buy a good eggplant, there’s no need to salt it as it will not be bitter.
My mother often made the beef cutlets and this is her recipe. Every time she made it she’d forget if the cheese came first or the sauce when layering the dish and she’d say, “I forget, do I put the cheese on first or the sauce?” I’d answer, “The cheese. It’s just the opposite of making pizza.”
I highly suggest using my mother’s tomato sauce recipe too. It makes a huge difference in whether this dish is good or fantastic. Chicken Parmigiana is good as an entree or as a sandwich made with two slices of garlic toast.
Chicken Parmigiana (or eggplant, or beef, or veal)
This is pretty simple to make but takes some time and some work, breading the cutlets and then frying them. Once you do that, make the sauce, and grate the cheese, you just assemble, bake, and serve.
- Tomato Sauce (see link to sauce recipe, above)
- Boneless chicken breasts, or chicken cutlets (6-10)
- Parmigiano cheese, grated. The best is Parmigiano Reggiano and makes a difference. (About a cup)
- Mozzarella cheese. I usually use low-moisture, regular mozzarella, along with some fresh mozzarella. (8 oz.)
- Sage (enough to sprinkle over the chicken as it cooks)
- Breadcrumbs (about 8 oz.)
- Large eggs (2)
- Milk (one splash per egg)
- Step 1 If you buy chicken breasts, you have to beat them to make them thin. If you buy cutlets, you don’t have to do this. Separate the breasts and pound them flat on both sides. You can do this by putting a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper over the breasts and hitting them a few times with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer.
- Step 2 Breading the chicken: Scramble a few eggs with a few splashes of milk in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Spread breadcrumbs on a large dinner plate or platter. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then dredge through the breadcrumbs until covered.
- Step 3 Fry the chicken in batches in about 1/2-inch to 1-inch of olive oil with garlic on medium heat. Watch the oil and turn down the heat if it starts to smoke. You can also add a thin slice of butter to the pan for flavor, but be careful it doesn’t burn. Sprinkle with a little sage and cook on both sides until done. Transfer the chicken to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the oil. (If the pan gets dirty or burns from leftover breadcrumbs, wipe it clean with a paper towel and add fresh oil).
- Step 4 Lay down one layer of chicken. Put thin slices of mozzarella over each chicken piece. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle Parmigiano cheese over the chicken. And repeat with each layer, ending with a layer of sauce and grated parmigiano cheese.
- Step 5 Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, until cheese melts and is bubbly. Serve hot. You can serve this with rice. If you like mix a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce into the rice. Or serve it with mashed potatoes, green beans, whatever you like.