Friday, April 11, 2014

Katie Cooks: Parmesan Chicken

Due to my week off for spring break, I had a lot of time to ruminate over my life, but more importantly I had time to watch incredible cooking shows such as The Barefoot Contessa and The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network. I really wish I had the lifestyle of either of the two women. Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa lives in the Hamptons and cooks for celebrities like Mel Brooks, while Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman lives on a palatial cattle ranch, has numerous pieces of Le Creuset cookware in every color, and has an amazing Basset Hound named Charlie.

In addition to watching a bunch of cooking shows, I also found myself pursuing old bookstores in town and in doing so I found a few old cookbooks and a biography on Julia Child. These gave me the much needed inspiration to get my hands dirty in the kitchen once again. You will see my latest cooking creation and cookbook featured below.

 I apologize that the colors in my cooking photos might look a little bit saturated or off, but I think it gives sort of a Wes Anderson feel to the whole thing. 

The recipe I made today was Ina Garten's Parmesan chicken. It is really easy to make and involves only a few ingredients. Apparently it was so good that her guest, movie and musical producer Mel Brooks, begged for more on the episode that featured this dish. The dinner involves a lightly breaded, thinly cut chicken breast topped with a salad. I suggest preparing the salad first, garlic bread next (my addition to her meal because I love carbs) and then chicken, all of which you will see below.

First prepare the salad by tossing salad greens with the lemon vinaigrette dressing which consists  of the following ingredients whisked together: 

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon (2 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper 

Next, start preparing the garlic bread so you can pop it in the oven when you start the chicken. My recipe is simple. Combine the following ingredients together and brush on a loaf of bread:

2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic 

Brush the above on bread and then toast for 3-5 minutes. You can also top with Parmesan cheese, as I did, or mozzarella and then broil for a minute or two for a crispy crust.  After this initial preparation, it is time to prepare the chicken. This only takes a few minutes.

Pound the chicken breasts into thin, 1/4 inch thin fillets. This is always fun to do with a meat tenderizer after a long stressful day!

Next, dredge the chicken in flour mixed with a pinch of salt and pepper, egg, and then a mixture of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. I put each of the the three ingredients in bowls and dip the chicken into each, one at a time before throwing them into the pan.

Before throwing chicken into the pan, heat a saute pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. After that you can saute 2-4 chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown on each side.

When the chicken is done, top with the salad and a sliver or two of Parmesan cheese. If you are lucky you will end up with a juicy chicken breast as shown below. Perhaps Mel Brooks will even show up and beg for more! 

A more detailed version of Ina Garten's recipe can be found here in case you want to duplicate it for yourself. It turned out to be a very yummy and scrumptious dinner, so I suggest whipping it up as a weekday meal if you get a chance!

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