My adorable nephew is six years old, and a very particular eater. When he and his family come over for dinner, they usually bring fast food for him to eat. It drives me crazy!
One night, with a little coaxing, we got him try a bite of my crispy, golden, delicious Parmesan Crusted Chicken. I guess it wasn’t too far of a stretch – it does kind of look like a big chicken nugget. Well, he enjoyed it so much that he actually asked for more! It was a very gratifying moment. After all, six year olds are very tough critics.
This chicken dish is easy enough to make during the week, and delicious enough to entertain with. I have served it to guests at many dinner parties, and it’s the dish that Stan and my parents request most often when I ask what they’d like for dinner. I also make a vegetarian version, subbing the chicken with eggplant slices.
I have been serving this dish to Madeline since she was eight months old. This isn’t the best picture, but here she is at ten months. This particular evening, I made both Parmesan Crusted Chicken & Eggplant. I cut the chicken and eggplant into bite size pieces, and she had no problem chewing it without teeth. I served it with spaghetti and homemade marinara. She loved it.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
- 8 chicken cutlets (thinly sliced chicken – this is the trick to it cooking so quickly)
- 1.5 cups homemade breadcrumbs*
- 1 demi-baguette
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- Small handful of Italian parsley, large stems removed
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1.5 cups grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups flour (I use whole wheat, but all purpose works too)
- 3 eggs beaten
- Olive oil for pan-frying
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
There are two different ways to make this dish. It all comes down to the breadcrumbs. Either option is delicious!
- Option 1: The Time Saver: If you’re in a hurry, or short on ingredients, you can skip the homemade breadcrumbs, and use 2.5 cups of panko breadcrumbs instead. With this option, you can have the chicken ready in about 20 minutes. The breadcrumbs are flavored with Parmesan cheese and garlic powder, so it’s still very flavorful. When I first developed this recipe years ago, this is how I made it.
- Option 2: Kicking It Up A Notch: When I have the time, I make my own breadcrumbs. It feels a little more homemade and I love the fresh garlic and parsley. This option adds an extra 15 minutes to your prep time, but it’s worth it.
The reason I like using a combination of homemade and panko is because the panko fill in all the nooks and crannies between the homemade, so you get full coverage. But, there really isn’t a right or wrong way. You can use all of one or the other for the sake of ease if you’d prefer.
*If you’re going to make your own breadcrumbs, do this first (steps below). If you want to skip the homemade breadcrumbs, just increase the total amount of panko breadcrumbs to 2.5 cups.
When I last made this dish, I didn’t have chicken cutlets on-hand. I did have boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so I made my own cutlets while the breadcrumbs were cooking. Here’s how:
Alright, now let’s get down to it.
First, we need to set up our assembly line. Put your flour in a dish, your whisked eggs in a dish, and grab your dish of breadcrumbs. Add the cheese, garlic powder, and a little salt and pepper to your breadcrumbs, and mix together so it’s well incorporated. Here’s what your assembly line should look like.
Now, it’s time for the messy part. Run each cutlet through your assembly line, coating each side evenly in the flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixture, respectively. I started with tongs, but it’s much easier just using your fingers. When you get to the breadcrumbs, really pack them on there. That’s the crunchy, delicious part.
Now it’s time to pan-fry them. Pour your olive oil in a large skillet, on medium high heat. You need just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, but before it smokes, put your chicken in and cook on both sides until it’s golden (about 4 minutes per side).
Sprinkle the chicken with a touch of salt right when it comes off the stove. Since it’s so thin, it’s most likely cooked through, but I like to put it in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or while I finish cooking my side dishes to get it extra golden and crispy.
- Pasta with tomato sauce and a side veggie for a spin on traditional chicken parm. You can even put a slice of mozzarella cheese on the chicken before putting it in the oven.
- Don’t want pasta? Put it on a hoagie roll with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese for a chicken parm sub.
- Potato salad and honey roasted carrots for a tastes-almost-like-fried-chicken dinner
- Atop a green salad for a lighter meal
- With my Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad
- Good ole’ mashed potatoes and broccoli
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you and your family enjoy this meal. If you do, I’d love to hear how it goes, and what you chose to make for your sides!