I grew up in the South, and something that was always at my churches dinner parties was chicken parmesan. Several women had to help with that dish, because everyone wanted some.
My grandmother was one of those women and we were spoiled with the best chicken Parmesan long after we switched churches. It is a perfect dish for a sunday night meal with the family. We like to serve it over some fresh pasta, and have either breadsticks or garlic bread on the side.
Between the cheese, chicken, and tomato sauce, the flavor is perfectly balanced.
For this recipe, you have to marinate the chicken in buttermilk and spices. This results in tender, moist, and flavorful chicken. So the extra steps and time are definitely worth it!
For the sauce, you can either make it homemade, or purchase your favorite spaghetti sauce from the grocery store. If you do make it at home, I recommend trying to keep it simple, instead of adding lots of meat or vegetables to it.
I do however highly suggest getting a block of Parmesan, and avoiding the powdered, or pre-shredded versions.
Also, when choosing your chicken breasts try to find the freshest packages to ensure quality of flavor.
This recipe makes the best chicken Parmesan, and it is very simple to make!
Start with 3 chicken breast halves, 1 ¾ cup of milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Slice the chicken in half horizontally, resulting in 6 thinner chicken breast pieces. Individually, place the halves in a ziplock bag and pound with a meat pounder.
The bottom of a skillet or mug will work as well.
In a large bowl, toss together 1 ½ cups of the buttermilk, the chicken, and the spices.
You are then going to put the contents of the bowl into a ziplock bag. Place the bag into a bowl (just to be sure it won’t spill everywhere), and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight).
Meanwhile, dry the bread by dividing into 1 or 2 inch slices and leaving on the counter. If you are pressed for time you could also bake the bread slices at 200 degrees F flipping every 10 minutes until its dry. You are not going for toast, so don’t let it go too long.
When the time is up, break the bread into chunks. In a food processor, combine the bread chunks, Parmesan cheese, and a few pinches of pepper.
Pulse it until it is very fine. There should no longer be Parmesan chunks in the mix.
Get three wide and shallow bowls or pie plates. In the first one, put your flour minus one tablespoon. In the second plate, whisk together the two eggs, the remaining tablespoon of flour, and two tablespoons of buttermilk. Dump the breadcrumb mixture into the third plate, drizzle the remaining buttermilk over it, and work it in with your fingertips.
Taking one piece at a time, coat the chicken in flour by flipping and pressing into the flour. Shake off the excess and transfer it to the egg mixture plate flipping to coat. Let it drip for a moment before transferring it over to the breadcrumb plate.
You want a nice thick layer of breadcrumbs. So once the chicken is on the plate, flip it and press it into the breadcrumbs so a layer adheres to it. Flip it back over to the first side and press it again to coat that side too.
Put the chicken on a clean plate, and repeat this process with the remaining chicken.
Pre-heat your oven to 425°F.
In a medium sized sauce pan, begin heating the tomato sauce on low heat.
Heat about a half of an inch of oil in a frying pan, until it reads 375°F on an instant read thermometer. In batches of one or two, carefully lower the chicken into the hot oil. Fry on each side for about two minutes, OR until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
you need to judge when it’s ready to come out.
Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined baking dish (or a large plate).
Scoop about a third of the sauce onto the bottom of an oven safe serving dish (or a regular casserole pan).
Shingle the chicken in the pan over the sauce.
Cover with more sauce, and top with the fresh mozzarella cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, and let rest for 3 minutes before serving. Top with extra cheese if desired.
The Best Chicken Parmesan
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 ¾ cup of buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ loaf crusty Italian bread
- 5 oz. Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- oil for frying
- 4 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
- 10 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Using a sharp knife, cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Individually, place the halves in a ziplock bag and pound with a meat pounder (the bottom of a skillet or mug will work as well). In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 1 ½ cups of the buttermilk. Transfer to a gallon sized ziplock bag. Place the ziplock bag into a large bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight. While the chicken is marinating, dry the bread by slicing into 1-2 inch slices and leaving on the counter.
When the time is up, break the bread into chunks. In a food processor, combine the bread chunks, Parmesan cheese, and a few pinches of pepper. Pulse until fine (this can take up to a minute on high speed).
Transfer the bread crumbs to a large shallow bowl, or pie plate. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the remaining buttermilk over the breadcrumbs, and work it in with your fingertips until it is equally moist all around. Place the flour in a second pie plate. In a third pie plate, whisk together the eggs, 1 tablespoon of flour from the flour plate, and the remaining two tablespoons of buttermilk.
Take one of the chicken breast halves and put it on the flour plate. Turn to coat completely and shake off any excess. Add to the egg mixture, turn to coat, and let excess drip off. Add to the breadcrumbs plate, flip and press to make sure a thick layer is coating it. Flip it back over to the first side, and make sure that side is coated well too. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate, and continue the same process with the remaining chicken breast halves.
Pre-heat your oven to 425°F. In a medium sized sauce pan, begin heating the tomato sauce on low heat.
Heat about a half of an inch of oil in a frying pan, until it reads 375°F on an instant read thermometer. In batches of one or two, lower the chicken into the oil. Fry on each side for about two minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined baking dish (or a large plate).
Spoon about ⅓ of the sauce onto the bottom of a casserole pan or large oven-safe serving dish. Shingle the chicken on top of sauce. Top with more sauce, forming a line down the center. Combine mozzarella and remaining 1 ounce of Parmesan cheese in a large bowl and toss to coat. Lay cheese mixture over chicken in a straight line down the center.
Transfer to the oven and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately grate fresh Parmesan on top. Allow to rest for 3 minutes, top with chopped herbs, and serve immediately.
- When the chicken is left to marinate for at least four hours, you get the best results. However, the time can be cut down to as little as one hour.
Who will you enjoy the best chicken Parmesan ever with?