Japanese bread crumbs, known as panko, give this version of chicken Parmesan a delicately crunchy crust. For a delicious accompaniment, try our broccoli rabe with garlic (see related recipe at left).
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (15 oz./470 g) tomato puree
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil, plus leaves for garnish
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each 6 to 8 oz.
(185 to 250 g), halved lengthwise and pounded to an even
1/4-inch (6-mm) thickness
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) panko
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 1/2 oz. (75 g) mozzarella cheese, sliced
In a nonstick fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the tomato puree. Reduce the heat to medium-low, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped basil. Remove the tomato sauce from the heat.
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
In a 3-quart (3-l) sauté pan over medium-high heat, pour in vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 inch (6 mm) and heat until hot. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow bowl or pie dish. Put the eggs in another bowl and season with salt and pepper. Combine the panko and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a third bowl.
Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into the egg, allowing the excess to drip off, then coat evenly with the panko mixture. Place on a large plate. Place 2 of the chicken breasts in the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 2 chicken breasts.
Carefully pour the hot oil into a heat-safe bowl to discard later. Wipe out the pan with paper towels. Place 2 of the chicken breasts in the pan and spread 2 Tbs. tomato sauce over each one. Top with half of the mozzarella, dividing evenly. Transfer to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and garnish with basil leaves. Repeat with the remaining 2 chicken breasts, sauce and cheese, reserving the leftover sauce to pass at the table. Serve immediately. Serves 4.