This satisfying weeknight supper is a simple chicken recipe. Just roll chicken cutlets in grated Parmesan may not win you any points with your stodgy, fine-china-and-silver-every-night-of-the-week mother-in-law. But we find it to be a superlative solution when it’s 10 minutes past when the kids started bellyaching that they’re hungry for dinner and you finally yank open the refrigerator and there seems to be nothing in there. Take a glance at this recipe and then look in the fridge again.
Though this chicken recipe is best complemented by summery tomatoes, indecent amounts of olive oil, and, if you have them in the fridge, some floppy salad greens or fresh basil, we’ve yet to have people not ask for seconds even when we’ve just plunked the Parmesan chicken plain on their plates.–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC Take the Time To Read This! Note
We know you’re in a hurry. But a word to the wise. Actually, a few words. First, don’t ignore the instructions in the chicken recipe below to pound the chicken breasts to an even thinness. It may take a few more moments that you swear you don’t have, yet it ensures the chicken cooks quickly and evenly, saving you time (and running out for take-out) in the long run. Another thing to be careful of is to grate the Parmesan finely—use those really tiny holes on the grater–as tiny shreds of cheese have a stick-to-itiveness that larger pieces just can’t muster, which means the cheese stays put on the chicken, not the pan. Last, if you’d rather not heat up the kitchen, rather than bake the chicken in the oven you can sear it in a well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet that’s just barely slicked with olive oil. All you need is a thin metal spatula (trust us on this) and impeccable timing so as to flip the cutlet the moment the cheese crust goes from gooey to crisp.
Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 30 M
- Serves 4
- 2 egg whites or 1 whole egg
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thinness (may use chicken tenders)
- 2 cups very finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Cracked black pepper, if it suits you
- Rocket (arugula) or basil leaves or summer lettuces (optional)
- 2 summer tomatoes, cut into slices or wedges (optional)
- Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper.
- 2. Place the egg whites or whole egg in a shallow dish and beat lightly. Place the Parmesan on a plate and, if you like pepper, add some to the Parmesan and toss to coat. Dip the chicken breasts first into the egg, allowing any excess to drip off, then drop it in the Parmesan and turn it to coat, pressing the Parmesan onto the chicken to make it stick. Place the Parmesan-crusted chicken on the parchment.
- 3. Bake until the chicken is golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Slide onto plates immediately. If desired, serve with a simple salad of greens or herbs and tomato dressed with olive oil.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Jul 06, 2010
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: I’m not a chicken-breast kind of eater, or cook. I can’t remember the last time I bought a boneless, skinless chicken breast. But when, on a Friday morning, I knew I’d be working late that night and this recipe landed in my e-mail inbox, it did seem like the perfect answer to the “What on earth will I make for dinner?” question. I had everything on-hand except for the chicken.
The recipe worked quite well as written, with the one minor detail that my chicken breasts weren’t quite done after 15 minutes in the oven—18 minutes did the trick. The recipe doesn’t specify the size of the chicken breasts, so for reference I will note here that mine were 5.4 ounces each. The cooking time will naturally vary a little bit based on the overall size and the shape of the meat you buy.
The final dish was perfectly cooked and moist—a chicken breast, seasoned and perfectly done, but rather plain. The recipe suggests an arugula and tomato salad to go with it, and I served an arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette, but no tomato, as mine are not ripe yet. It was a good match, but some ripe summer tomatoes would have really added to the dish.
It works, and it’s very, very easy to make. Perhaps one of the easiest things that I’ve ever made, in more 25 years of cooking. And that’s the key. I may not be a big fan of a simple chicken breast, but my health-conscious, non-cooking husband is. When we came to the all-important question, “would you make this again?” his answer was that he would make it himself, because it was better than any chicken breast he had cooked in the past, and it was really easy. So there you have it. A good, foolproof way for a non-cook to get a nice, healthy dinner on the table. Here’s a recipe to give to your kid, spouse, or sibling who doesn’t cook a whole lot or is just learning to cook, for a simple but good weeknight staple that can be made on a night you might otherwise opt for takeout.
Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Recipe © 2004 Donna Hay. Photo © 2004 Con Poulos. All rights reserved.