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Course: Mains
Keyword: Chicken, Chicken Parm, Comfort Food, Italian

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan from Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Return.
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
More American classic than Italian creation, Chicken Parmesan has long suffered from soggy breading, insipid sauce, and gummy cheese topping.
No more! This Italian-American culinary concoction finally gets its due with San Marzano tomatoes, crispy coating, and a foolproof cooking method that guarantees cheesy goodness.
This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats: The Return.
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Red Sauce

  • 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (2-inch) Parmesan rind

Chicken Parm

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded to 1/8-inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 ounce salt and vinegar potato chips, not kettle cooked or thick cut
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup Red Sauce (above), divided
  • 2 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 ounces Italian fontina, shredded
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnishing

Specialized Hardware

  • three baking sheets with wire racks
  • 9-by-13-inch broiler-safe baking dish or pan
  • a mortar and pestle and a large wooden spoon
Chicken Parmesan from Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Return.
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


Red Sauce

  • Work the garlic, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil together with a mortar and pestle until a paste forms.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic paste and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the anchovies and the red pepper flakes and cook until the anchovies begin to break down, about 1 minute. (I usually use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the anchovies.)
  • Add the tomatoes and break them up with the back of the spoon then submerge the Parmesan rind in the sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, until the sauce is almost dry, about 1 hour.
  • Discard the Parmesan rind or feed it to the dog. Use the sauce immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. (See Cook's Note.)

Chicken Parm

  • Cut the butterflied and pounded breasts into 6 to 8 even pieces. Season with the salt on both sides and place on a rack set inside a sheet pan (technically we use "half" sheet pans for this). Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Combine the breadcrumbs, potato chips, oregano, parsley, and garlic powder in a 1 gallon zip-top bag and crush into a course meal.
  • Set up a breading station with three loaf pans: Place the flour in the first pan, the beaten eggs in the second, and the breadcrumb mixture in the third. Set a clean wire rack inside a sheet pan to hold the breaded pieces.
  • Unwrap the chicken and blot well with paper towels then dredge the chicken first in the flour (shake off the excess), then dip in the beaten eggs (again, drain the excess), and finally coat with the breadcrumbs before placing on the rack.
  • Position an oven rack in the top third of the oven and crank the broiler to high. Line a clean pan with paper towels and have it standing by.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in an 11-inch sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter foams, add half the breaded chicken to the pan, but don’t overcrowd. Cook, undisturbed, until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the clean rack, wipe out the pan, and repeat with the remaining butter, oil, and chicken.
  • Spread 3/4 cup of the red sauce into the bottom of a a 9-by-13-inch broiler-safe baking dish or pan and broil until the sauce bubbles and begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer. Dot the chicken with the remaining red sauce, leaving bare spots to retain some crispy bits. Scatter the fontina and mozzarella over the sauce.
  • Return to the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, about 1 minute to 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  • Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley.
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