Baked Chicken Parmesan with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
Chicken "Parm" or Chicken Parmesan is a crowd favorite here in NJ, along w/ fried calamari and great pizza (I won't mention the disgusting vodka rigatoni on so many menus too, yuck).
I used to be a snob about this Italian American dish, calling it "pizzeria food". Who would put melted cheese on chicken?
Well, I have gotten off my high horse and have learned to love it. It's so comforting, a chicken cutlet, breaded then fried and topped with melted mozzarella and marinara sauce over linguine. It's really delicious.
Since the cherry tomatoes are falling off the vine for another few weeks only, I decided to make a roasted cherry tomato sauce and bake the chicken instead of frying.
May I have some more please?
Baked Chicken Parm w/ Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce: (serves 2-4 people)
For the Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce:
a big bunch of cherry tomatoes (I like to mix colors)
splash of balsamic vinegar
In a deep roasting pan, lay out the cherry tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt. Splash w/ balsamic vinegar.
Roast the tomatoes for 30-40 minutes in a 375F oven until blistering and there is a nice sauce around them.
For the Chicken:
boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin (4 cutlets)
1/2 - 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tbsp mayonnaise
kosher salt & pepper
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 slices of smoked or fresh mozzarella cheese
fresh basil leaves
Since we are doing this in the oven, the panko won't brown, so brown the crumbs in a skillet first.
In a nonstick skillet, heat some olive oil and cook the panko breadcrumbs in the skillet about 4 minutes, using a spatula to move them around, until golden brown. Pour crumbs into a pie plate and season with kosher salt & pepper.
Prepare a baking sheet w/ parchment paper, if you have a rack, then place it on the baking sheet, so all sides get nice and crispy (if you don't, no biggie).
Mix the mayo and parmesan cheese in a flat dish and dredge each chicken breast in the mayo cheese mixture, then into the breadcrumbs.
Coat both sides, patting down so the breadcrumbs stick.
Lay the prepared chicken breasts on the baking sheet.
Roast the tomatoes on the bottom rack and the chicken on the top rack for 25 minutes (I start my tomatoes while I am preparing the chicken, because they will take a little longer in the oven).
After 25 minutes, carefully pull out the baking tray and lay mozzarella slices on top of the chicken.
Turn on the broiler for 2 minutes only to melt the cheese. By now the tomatoes should be done too.
Transfer the chicken to a platter and spoon on the roasted tomatoes with their juices.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
This sounds like a pain, but it's very easy and very delicious!
I hope you try it.