Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lighter Chicken Parmesan

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
vegetable cooking spray
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into halves (4 pieces total)
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed (or use tomato sauce recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

DIRECTIONS:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.  Combine the breadcrumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat until golden, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and allow to cool slightly; when cool, stir in the parsley, Italian seasoning, and parmesan.

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together. In a third shallow dish whisk together the egg whites and water.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.  Lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour to coat completely, shaking off the excess.  Then dip into the egg whites and finally coat with the breadcrumb mixture.  Press on the breadcrumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce over the top of each piece of chicken and top with 2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella.  Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the fresh basil and serve as desired, with extra Parmesan and marinara sauce.

Tomato Sauce:
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
table salt and ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

Recipe Source: adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Cook’s Illustrated, October 2006

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