Fleur de Lis

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Panko Crusted Baked Chicken & Eggplant layered with Provolone and Spicy Marinara Sauce


I could eat Italian food every single day. It's my favorite cuisine. This one starts with a very simple spicy marinara sauce that simmers for a few hours. It's the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon meal.

This is my take on chicken parmigiana. I'm still limiting carb intake for awhile, so I eliminated the pasta and baked the chicken and eggplant instead of frying.

Let's start with the marinara sauce.

2 T. olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup minced yellow onions
1 t. Kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
29 oz. can tomato puree
15 oz. can tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese rinds (if available)

In a 3 quart Dutch oven or large saucepan, add olive oil over low heat. Toss in the garlic and let cook on low heat for several minutes.


Add the red pepper flakes and stir to combine with the garlic and let cook for 2 minutes.


Next, add the onions with the salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, let cook for 5 - 7 minutes.


Add the tomato puree and the tomato sauce. Cover and let cook for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


When you finish grating Parmesan cheese, you are keeping the rind, aren't you? It's so simple to just drop the rind into a freezer bag and keep it for just a day like today.


Put the rind(s) into the sauce, stir, and cover the pot. Let simmer for several hours, stirring every now and then. 


When ready to serve, taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.


While the sauce is simmering, you can prepare the chicken and eggplant.

3 Italian Eggplants (about 1 pound)
1 pound chicken cutlets, pounded thin
2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 t. water
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups Italian style Panko bread crumbs
Olive Oil Non-Stick Spray
Sliced Provolone Cheese
Parmesan Cheese for grating on top
Chopped Basil for garnish

Slice eggplants about 1/4 " thick and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. The salt will draw out the water which will remove a lot of the bitterness which is sometimes found in eggplants. Let rest for 30 - 45 minutes and then rinse off the salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chicken cutlets between layers of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet, pound to a thickness of 1/4". 

In a shallow baking dish, pour the eggs and water and lightly salt and pepper.

Pour the Panko bread crumbs into a separate shallow baking dish.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with the non-stick spray.

Taking one piece of a chicken at a time, place in the egg wash, and then transfer to the Panko crumbs. Press the chicken into the crumbs and make sure chicken cutlets are completely covered. Place on prepared parchment paper. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.

Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and using a metal spatula, carefully turn the chicken over and return to oven for another 10 minutes.

While chicken is baking, repeat the process with the eggplant slices. Dip into the egg wash, then the Panko bread crumbs and place the slices on another parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Let the eggplant bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and using a metal spatula, carefully turn the eggplant slices over and return to oven for another 10 minutes.

Now it's time to plate!

Place one piece of chicken onto the plate and ladle the spicy marinara sauce over the chicken. Place one slice of Provolone cheese over the sauce.  Now place several slices of the eggplant on top of the cheese.

Add a little more sauce over the top and grate fresh Parmesan over everything. Ladle additional sauce around the plate, if desired and sprinkle with chopped basil.

Repeat with remaining chicken and eggplant.

Serve immediately.


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