Friday, May 28, 2010

Parmigiana if you please...

Recently a friend commented that parmas are a Melbourne thing. And indeed I think that she is right. Sure, they are done in other cities but not with the passion that comes from Melbourne. Pubs routinely have parma and pint (pot if stingy) nights. For very little money you get a warm meal and cool drink. With a few chips and a limp salad on the side. The fella finds it hard to resist a parma and pint deal, so when I found this Jamie recipe I simply had to make it.

Not that I've not made parmas before. But it looked so enticing. And the fella was hanging out for one, in fact longing for one, refusing to eat at places that don't serve it (thus rejecting both Subway for a quick feed and the local pizza place). What else could I do but make one? To quieten him at least! And I am glad that I did. For this recipe is a winner. I will make it again any day. Thank you Mr Oliver!

Chicken Parmigiana
Serves 2, double for 4.

Splash of olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 anchovies
2 red chillies
400 g tin diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 handfuls breadcrumbs, freshly made in a processor
1 handful grated pecorino
Zest of 1 lemon
100 g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
2 small chicken breasts
few basil leaves
small amount of mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 200 * C.

Place a frying pan over medium heat, add a slosh of olive oil. Add the garlic and anchovies, cook until fragrant. Add the chillies, smoshing them in the sauce a little, along with the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so until thickened. Season to taste. Remove mixture to the base of an oven-proof dish in which you will cook the parmigianas. Wipe out the pan.

Meanwhile, mix the breadcrumbs with pecorino and zest. Place this onto a plate. On another plate place flour and season it. On another plate (this one with some lip) add the egg. Beat the chicken breasts with a meat cleaver until flattened. You want them around 5 mm thick, and even all over. Coat the chicken with flour, dip it into the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Press it down and ensure that the entire breast is covered with crumbs.

Heat the frying pan again over a medium heat and add another slosh of olive oil. Cook the chicken until golden and generally cooked through - around 3 minutes per side. Place the chicken on top of the tomato sauce mixture in to oven-proof dish. Place a few basil leaves on top of the chicken, then cover the leaves with cheese. I cut the cheese from a large round into small disks and placed them on top of the chicken, leaving some surface area cheese-free.

Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted and the dish is cooking together. Enjoy with a salad or side of corn on the cob.

From Jamie Oliver's Jamie's America.

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