My longtime pal Mary Mannone is a great cook. Having dinner at her home is always a treat. She makes everything look easy. Her Chicken Parmesan served atop a citrusy arugula salad is a favorite.
The recipe is snagged from cookbook celebrity Ina Garten, but Mannone has a few tricks that make it perfect for a company dinner. She pounds and breads the chicken breasts before guests arrive and refrigerates them. Right before dinner she cooks the chicken in two skillets, eliminating the need to heat the bird in two batches. Meanwhile, she tosses the salad. Voila.
Chicken Parmesan with Arugula Salad
Yield: 6 servings
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- Unsalted butter
- Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry (arugula or mixed baby greens)
Lemon Vinaigrette: Mix together 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons), 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional garnish: drained capers
1. Pound the chicken breasts (between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper) until they are 1/4 inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
2. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Or, cook all the chicken in 2 large skillets at the same time. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast or serve chicken atop salad (if you wish, top chicken with some capers). Serve with extra grated Parmesan.