Monday, October 10, 2011

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Almost a year ago I presented my mom with a birthday gift for the two of us to take a cooking class together. Due to various circumstances, we didn't have a chance to book and attend a class until this past week. We went to the Italian Cooking Class hosted at Meinhardt foods here in Vancouver. The class was so much fun and I had a great time with my mom.

When I told my aunt about our upcoming class she questioned my need and desire to go to such classes, citing my vast skills and noting that my cooking/baking repertoire was already so full. What, she asked me, could I possibly gain from the class when I'm so good at recreating recipes that I come across on my own. I explained to her that although I gather most of my recipes online and try out various new techniques it's nice to be able to see something being done in front of you rather than reading steps or looking at pictures. The interactive element helps to establish the technique and also allows you to ask questions along the way. This cooking class was no different; although the recipes we prepared were quite simple and I could have prepared them on my own, I learned a new way to dice onions and tomatoes quickly and efficiently. Things like that, and the actual fun of attending the class with other food enthusiasts, makes me seek out these experiences and treasure them.

The Chicken Parmesan we made during the class tasted great and the instructor let me take home the extra breading mixture that was left over. My family celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend by having a nice big lunch together, though not with the traditional turkey. Instead, I prepared my Thai Curry Mussels and Mussels in White Wine and Tomato Broth along with this chicken. It was very well received and tasted just as good as the one we made during the cooking class.

Baked Chicken Parmesan
Note: We didn't actually measure out how much breading we used and the specific amount of herbs but these are the amounts I suspect should be enough.
  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can also use chicken breasts sliced in half)
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 2-3 tbsp each thyme, parsley, basil (you can pretty much use any herbs you have on hand)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Wash and pat down all of the chicken thighs and set aside.
  2. In one bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, herbs, lemon zest, a little salt and pepper, and half of the Parmesan cheese.
  3. In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs and set next to the first bowl.
  4. Prepare a large baking tray with parchment paper and pour a generous amount of olive oil onto it.
  5. One at a time, dredge the chicken thigh first in the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumb topping, making sure to fully coat both sides. Coat both sides of the chicken with the olive oil from the tray (spread it around a little) and repeat with the remaining pieces. Arrange the pieces evenly on the tray so that they are not touching.
  6. Top the chicken thighs with the remaining Parmesan cheese and put in the oven to bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees (350 if the thighs are quite thick or using chicken breast) and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until there is no more pink on the inside when sliced through.
  8. Serve the chicken with some fresh lemon wedges or marinara sauce. 
Note: Any extra breading can be sealed in a ziploc back and frozen for up to two months...just make sure to label it and use it only for chicken. Also, the chicken can be reheated the next day in the oven at a high temperature (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for about five minutes.

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