Hola. Or Ciao, seeing as our departure to Italy is imminent (not gloating, merely practicing my advanced language skills). In homage to Italia today you get a distinctly un-Italian version of Parmiagiana, as I remember eating it in Australia. No actual parmesan in the thing, as it happens, although maybe on reflection there used to be some of that vomit-smelling dried parmesan powdery dust type stuff included in the breadcrumbs. Either way, this is what the boyfriend would rightly but Italian-ly disparage as a blot on the Italian food landscape.
He helped cooked it, though, and ate a bloody large portion so I believe that’s 1:0 to Australia.
As I type this he’s having an early afternoon bath and I’m sat on the sofa with a towel on my head, having spent the morning packing and walking the dog in various pleasant locations. We ate this dish last week, I think, when it was still cooler weather and not the lovely sunshine we’ve been having. We just took the dog to the local park again and it’s full of oiled bodies. You can tell the non-brits, they tend to use a lot of oil and have better bodies.
As many chicken breasts as there are people to feed
Some breadcrumbs – we made ours out of some old ciabatta
Egg, for wash
Plain flour, for flouring
Passata, about 1.5 cups for 2 people
Cheddar (or some other more sophisticated cheese)
Oil, olive of course but also some vegetable
Same of salt
I wazzed up the bread with some seasoning in the blender thingy till coarse but properly crumbed. If you want to use pre-bought I’d recommend Panko or similar, rather than very fine breadcrumbs.
Lay out your crumbs on a plate, your beaten egg in a bowl, and your flour in another bowl. Far me it from me to dictate the order but if you don’t go Flour-Egg-Breadcrumb you’re going to suffer.
Remove the skin from your organically free-range chicken breast (I’m assuming) and then kind of slice in half. I think this is called butterflying – demonstrated above is the original version, still quite chicken-breasty, and the sliced version, sort of butterfly-y. Basically slice into the breast as if you’re dividing it in half through the width, but don’t go all the way.
Throw over a piece of clingwrap, imagine that creepy Science teacher who taught you in Year 10 and bash away. I find a rolling pin useful. You don’t have to make these all specially thin but you do want to reduce the thickness somewhat and even out the meat.
Then pat it gently in the flour, covering it, dunk into the egg, making sure it’s all egged up, and then get it covered in breadcrumbs. See above. It’s quite straightforward. Most of you should manage.
Whilst I was getting on with the high tech chicken prep, the boyfriend was making the sauce. He bunged some passata in a saucepan, added some minced garlic gloves, a splash of balsamic and a pinch of salt and sugar, with some olive oil, had it on a low simmer till it reduced and itensified a bit.
I’m sure this is very authentically Italian, as he is half Italian.
Heat up a good half and inch or so of the veg oil in a frypan, over a medium heat (not too mental) and then fry off the chicken. You’ve essentially made chicken schnitzel here. If you’re feeling more German than Italian then stop here, serve with pickled cabbage and some lager in a vast stein.
Cooking should be about 3-4 mins each side at most, taking care not to burn. The chicken, I mean. You’l totally get spat at by the angry hot oil.
Under a grill, spoon out some of the tomato sauce onto the chicken.
Lay hands on the cheddar, and lay the cheddar on top of everything else. Shove under the grill till it’s all bubbling.
It’ll look a bit like the above. Not at all health.
It’s bloody delicious. I believe we decided to eschew vegetables, eating it on its own. Well class.
Below are a couple of photos from this morning. The dog is in one, and I am proud of the boke in the other, so you’re getting that one for free.
See you either from or after Italy.