This is one of Tyler’s all-time favorite dinners. It has been a popular choice in the past, but we haven’t been eating it since we started trying to eat healthier. I thought is was more than time to come up with a healthier version that still has all the requisite crispy-cheesy-goodness. The good news is, the new recipe has the ‘Tyler Stamp of Approval’ which is probably the highest praise I could get.
If you are feeling ambitious, consider serving this Chicken Parmesan with Caesar Salad, and you will have Tyler’s favorite combination.
I like to start with the tomato sauce, that way it can simmer while you prepare the chicken. Briefly sauté the garlic and oregano until just fragrant, add the tomato sauce, sea salt, and let simmer.
Tip: Crumble the oregano between your fingers as you add it to the olive oil and garlic, this helps bring out the flavor of dried herbs.
For the chicken cutlets, pound them between two layers of plastic wrap with the flat side of a meat mallet until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Cut them lengthwise into 4-5 portion sizes. I would definitely recommend purchasing a meat mallet for this recipe because it makes pounding the cutlets so much easier. I like to make several batches of cutlets at one time and place the extras in freezer packages for a quicker meal next time around.
There was one time that I made cutlets for Chicken Parmesan with a hammer, (definitely not recommended). It worked, but it was really hard because a hammer doesn’t have a big enough surface area and I found myself pounding holes into my cutlets. Needless to say, there is a reason they say to use a meat mallet.
Mix together ingredients for the almond flour mixture and in a separate bowl, beat together the egg and salt. Dip the cutlets first into the egg mixture, then dredge them in the almond flour mixture. Pan-fry a couple minutes on each side until golden. Place on a baking sheet and top with cheese.
After you pop the Chicken Parmesan into the oven, thinly slice the basil. The technical French cooking term for this is ‘chiffonade‘. To create those beautiful thin strips, you stack about ten basil leaves, roll them up, and slice crosswise very thinly.
Pan-frying combined with oven baking lightens up this classic. This method is also much easier than deep-fried restaurant preparations. By placing the chicken on a baking sheet, you allow room in between making it easier to lift them out and place on a serving platter. Alternatively, you can place them in a baking pan and allow the cheese to run together a bit, that always looks yummy too.
We ate our Chicken Parmesan with vegetable ‘noodles’, yet another replacement to pasta. Vegetable noodles don’t have the same toothsome quality of pasta but they are really good in their own right. I’ve found it’s best for me if I don’t compare one to the other: it’s like apples to oranges, both are good but not really comparable.
I used a yellow summer squash for color, but zucchini would work as well. The squash is really mild, so it takes on the flavors of the more assertive tomato sauce and basil. I have always been a pasta fiend, but lately neither one of us has been feeling too good when we eat it, so this made the perfect alternative. So we can still have our Chicken Parmesan and eat it too.
Note: there will be a short post to follow about how to make vegetable ‘noodles’.
- 2 chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded ½” thick
- ¾ cup almond flour
- ½ cup parmesan, grated
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg beaten with ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- TOMATO SAUCE:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 24 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt
- 6 slices of fresh mozzarella or 1 cup grated mozzarella
- 10 basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Place a saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, and oregano. Sauté a few seconds until fragrant, add the tomato sauce and salt. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together the almond flour, parmesan, and sea salt in a bowl plate. In the second bowl plate, beat the egg with the salt.
- Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Dip the chicken cutlets one by one into the egg mixture, and then dredge them in the almond flour mixture. Add a small amount of olive oil to the pan and fry cutlets in batches of two at a time until golden brown on each side (a couple of minutes per side).
- Place the pan fried cutlets on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese over the top of each cutlet, and bake for 6-10 minutes until cheese melts.
- Serve immediately with tomato sauce, freshly sliced basil, and your choice of noodles.
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