It’s nice to know that you can replicate NY pizza joint chicken parmesan in a pinch, which is what we were in recently with not much in the house but some boneless skinless chicken breasts in dire need of the usual flavor and fat infusion. What inspired this fast-foodie ambition? Why didn’t I do some lite and brite mediterranean spin? Because, frankly, I’m a bit fatigued by that whole idea. I wanted something southern italian-ish by way of new york by way of L.A. I’d like to think this is better for you than the pizza parlor stuff: I use less cheese, don’t do a serious breading or deep fry and use my quick tomato sauce (the micro recipe is: heat several tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, sautee a few cloves of garlic, add one can of peeled plum tomatoes [crushed with your hands as you put them in the pan], salt and pepper to taste, a pinch of red pepper flakes, cook for 20-30 or minutes until the flavors are all melded and the sauce tightens up a bit, stirring here and there). I keep a few cups of this in the freezer.
If you live in NY, you might wonder why you’d go to the trouble of making your own chicken parm instead of ordering out. I’m telling you: it’s worth it. That breading on those pizza parlor cutlets is freaky thick and weirdly sweet. And at least you know that your chicken is free range, organic, and that your sauce doesnt’ have corn syrup in it.
NYC Pizza Parlor Chicken Parmesan a la LA
Maybe they use parmesan on this at pizza parlors, but I used mozzarella, which is perfectly delish. Why “NYC”? Because it was a regular 2 a.m. snack for me when I was living there and regularly staying out until 2 a.m. Why “a la LA”? because I’ve dialed back the fattyness, the fried-ness, serve it open face. And it’s just as good at 6 p.m. with the family as was at 2 a.m. without.
-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4 thin cutlets. have the butcher do this or do it yourself if you’ve got the skills
-2 eggs beaten, in a bowl big enough to dip the cutlets in
-a bunch of flour on a plate. Season the flour with salt and pepper and mix it up
-2 cups quick tomato sauce (see recipe above)
-a couple handfulls of grated mozzarella
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Dip the chicken cutlets into the egg mixture, then dredge in flour mixture, then carefully place in hot oil. Sautee each side for several minutes until browned, turn over, then brown the other side until the cutlet is cooked through.
Preheat oven to 400. Place chicken cutlets in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over. Top with grated cheese. Bake in oven until cheese is bubbly and a browned a bit in places, maybe 15 minutes or so.
Serve on toasted crusty country white bread. A big green salad with a red wine vinegar dressing will round out this old school dinner.