Friday, July 20, 2012

Chicken Parmesan

Sort of on a whim I decided to try making chicken parmesan for dinner last night. For simple, basic recipes for things I've never made before, I tend to turn to my Joy of Cooking. My dad gave it to me when I was in high school and I didn't really know what to do with it then, but it has definitely helped me out in the past few years as I've started to branch out more with my cooking. (And by "branch out" I mean actually cook things from scratch.)

So I found some recipes in Joy of Cooking to first make chicken cutlets, and then turn them into chicken parmesan. But because I prefer to eat gluten-free if I can, and because I kind of like the challenge, about five minutes online gave me some ideas on how to make gluten-free chicken parmesan. It turned out way better than I expected, and is quite possibly the best chicken parmesan I've ever had. I am eating left-overs as I write this. Here's my gluten-free adaptation:

1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
about 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tbsp minced fresh basil (plus some for garnish)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 egg
1 tsp water
1/4 cup cornstarch (subbed for flour)
1/3 cup coconut oil (subbed for olive oil)
1 jar marinara sauce
6 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Chicken Cutlets: 1. Rinse chicken and cut off any excess fat. Cut chicken into palm-sized pieces and slice in half horizontally if they are thick. Place the cutlets between wax paper or parchment paper and pound with a meat mallet or empty glass bottle to flatten. 2. In a wide, shallow bowl combine breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1 tbsp basil, salt, and pepper. 3. In a shallow bowl whisk together egg and water. 4. Spread cornstarch (or flour) on a plate. 5. Coat chicken with cornstarch and shake off any excess. Dip it in egg mixture and then coat with bread crumb mix, patting with fingers to made the crumbs adhere. 6. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Flip cutlets over with tongs and cook another 2-3 minutes. You may need to add more oil if the pan looks dry.

Chicken Parmesan: Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce into a 13x9" baking dish to cover the bottom. Arrange cutlets over sauce, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle 4 tbsp Parmesan over cutlets, and then cover with the remaining marinara sauce. Top with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 F, or until heated through. Broil for a few minutes to brown the top. Serve over a little mound of spaghetti and garnish with basil.

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