Sunday, January 4, 2009

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast

I'm not a fan of chicken and it goes back to my days in a fast food chicken chain.  Unfortunately the fam loves the stuff and I have to find ways to disguise it and make it tasty where I can enjoy it too.  Adding in the words of Mario Batali, the "undisputed king of cheese" good old Parmesan makes chicken quite tasty and enjoyable for beef eaters like me.

This recipe is a combo of several others I've read or tried.  Its pretty easy to prepare, its the prep that is time consuming.  Add in corn and mashed 'taters and you have a right tasty comfort food dinner on the table pretty quickly.  

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
  • 6 boneless chicken breasts - approx 1 1/2 lbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T milk
  • 3/4  c grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1/4 c loose packed fresh basil leaves. (or 2 T dry basil)
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter divided.
Preheat oven to 325F
Pat chicken dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Gather 3 shallow bowls large enough to fit one chicken breast.
In bowl #1 combine flour and onion powder.
In bowl #2 add egg and milk, beat well.

In food processor add fresh Parmesan and pulse until coarse grated.  Add bread crumbs, tear up basil leaves and add to processor container.  Pulse until basil is finely chopped and evenly distributed in the cheese and bread crumbs.  Pour Cheese mixture into bowl #3.

Take a seasoned chicken breast.  Dip in Bowl #1 (flour mixture).  Remove and dip into bowl #2 (Milk and egg).  Remove and set into the cheese mixture bowl.  Lightly press into cheese, turn the breast over and repeat so both sides are evenly covered with the cheese mixture.  Put aside on clean board to rest while breading the remaining chicken breasts.

In large nonstick frying pan heat over medium heat.   Add olive oil, when it begins to shimmer add  1T butter and 3 chicken breasts.  Cook about 5 minutes until bottom is golden brown, carefully flip and cook remaining side until golden brown about 3-5 minutes.  Remove breasts from pan and add to baking sheet lined with silpat liner.  Add remaining 1 T butter repeat searing process with remaining breasts.

Place baking pan in oven and roast for 20 minutes.  NOTE: time and temp is for convection oven, if using regular oven increase heat to 350F and time to 25-30 minutes.  Test for doneness by sticking a knife into thickest piece - if juices run clear its done, if not bake 5 minutes longer.

The resting period of a few minutes from the time you bread the breast until you sear it is really important.  That rest allows the egg in the crust to set up and really hold it tight to the chicken breast instead of falling off into your frying pan.  
A silpat sheet is a must with this one.  As there is so much cheese in the crust it sticks too easily to the pan and you wind up leaving most of the cheesy goodness behind.

If you have the convection option use the option as it really keeps a nice even heat on the chicken ensuring its cooked through and not "hot spots" scorching the crust.

If you can use fresh basil in this one do so.  There is a certain "green" taste in the fresh that you just don't get out of the dried.

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