Monday, February 16, 2009

Chicken Parmesan Recipe for busy Teachers

I get a lot of readers to this site and most come from google search engines but sometimes I will be linked and get a lot of traffic that way. There is a site called Tribal Fusion or Datalounge where in addition to television (specifically prime time) they talk about everything it seems. One cannot peruse casually as one must be a member. These readers typically come in via old posts, through the backdoor as it were and they are experts when it comes to spelling, grammar, and word usage. The readers account for less than 3% of my traffic but they send more e mail than any other demographic and I have been forced to go back to ancient posts and correct typos and word usage issues. Any teacher who teaches correct English will be heartened to know that there is a percentage of students who not only listen but pay strict attention. These readers will eventually grow up and move to the Datalounge. This recipe for chicken Parmesan is dedicated to busy teachers who have papers to grade and eschew frozen food and microwaves.

An Italian restaurant who shall go un-named today hired me to compete with their new jarred and frozen sauces and meals. I have been an open critic of this restaurant and their food for years. It was precisely for that reason I was chosen.

The challenge was make a home made sauce or meal using the same essential ingredients they used in the same amount of time. For instance I had to make a Bolognese style sauce in 18 minutes, the time it took for water to boil and their jarred sauce to heat. Our two versions would go out into a blind tasting room and we watched as their panel said which was better.

For the first 10 dishes mine were deemed far superior by the tasters. When we go to Alfredo sauce I failed. To be honest I tasted theirs and thought of library paste, not knowing how to make library paste I made a Bechamel with cheese and it separated. I still preferred mine to the library paste, but it did not look appealing.

The biggest challenge was chicken Parmesan in 7 minutes. That is the time they estimated that it took to unwrap microwave, remove plastic, turn and get on a plate. My knife has never moved faster and I had never made a chicken Parm in my life, but my version still won. I would recommend that you slow down, but still it won't take more than 20 minutes. For two servings:

1 chicken breast split in half and pounded with a hammer 'til thin.

2 Roma tomatoes chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped


Oregano (two pinches)

Juice of one lime

1 oz. shredded mozzarella

1 oz. grated Parmesan

1 oz. Panko breadcrumbs

Salt and Pepper

While you beat your meat get a pan very hot with a little olive oil. Throw the garlic in the edge of the pan, stir. Salt and pepper your pounded breast and place in oil, if the garlic has started to soften toss the tomatoes on top and stir while you quickly sear the breast. After two or so minutes turn your meat over. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over each piece.Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, top with a lid for about two minutes. Tomatoes should be bubbly but chunky and chicken cooked. Throw a pinch of oregano in the tomato and spoon equally over the breasts. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and serve. You will be relieved to learn that their home line of food has been postponed, I hope forever. Do we really need more crap in a jar that is inferior to what can be made at home in 18 minutes?


Anonymous said...

I'm very critical of restaurants in the area. One of the biggest issues is seasoning. You'd be surprised how far salt and pepper can go to help a dish out.

I do a Bolognese sauce but it takes 45 minutes to cook the batch. But you could always cook it ahead of time and separate into individual servings later.

It's simply about a cup each of chopper carrot, chopped celery and chopped onion sauteed then add a 50/50 mix ground beef/pork (around 2lbs total) and brown. Add one can of crushed tomato, fill can with water and add that, then add two cans of tomato paste.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. I usually dose it with salt when I do the veggies, then the beef, then finally at the end to bring out the flavor in the sauce.

You can use garlic powder too. It stores and freezes well.

Matter of fact I just made a big batch last night.

Karl Wilder, Chef said...

Thank you for sharing that. I am a big fan of making sauces and freezing small amounts. I always have pesto ready to go in the freezer.

Anonymous said...

We do love our "grammar trolls" on Datalounge. I believe it's become some sort of warped symbiosis. :)

Anonymous said...

How old is the photo. Your friends at Datalounge want to know?

Karl Wilder, Chef said...

The photo was taken in Budapest less than a year ago. I made it Sepia because I have an affection for the style. It makes it look older so you are not the first to ask.