When I was in college my friends and I used to celebrate Frank Sinatra’s birthday, the 12th of December, with a feast we called Frank Day. Frank Day was the perfect excuse to listen to lots of Ol’ Blue Eyes whilst wearing pin stripes and carnations and eating copious amounts of Italian-American classics like ragu bolognese, spaghetti and meatballs, or chicken parmigiana. This year, I’ve decided to bring it back. Below is my recipe for chicken parm and I hope you like it. I love it.
Ingredients for the sauce:
800 g finely chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
half an anchovy
2 cloves of garlic
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 c dry white wine
Method for the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Put the garlic cloves and anchovy through a garlic press and briefly saute for no more than a minute. Add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Stir in the finely chopped tomatoes and wine. Bring to a simmer. Allow this to gently bubble for at least an hour. Season to taste. If it’s a bit bitter or sharp to you, add a pinch of sugar.
Ingredients for the chicken parmigiana:
the tomato sauce from above
4 chicken breasts
bread crumbs from 3 pieces of toast
1 egg, beaten
1 c all purpose flour
2 tbsp grated parmesan
2 large balls of buffalo mozzarella, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp dried oregano
fresh basil and flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to pound them until they are thin.
Combine the bread crumbs on a plate with the parmesan and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
On another plate, have the beaten egg.
On a third plate, the flour.
Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet. Take the chicken breasts and dip both sides in the flour. Then dip it in the egg. Then coat both sides with the bread crumb mixture. Fry the chicken over medium-high heat until crispy and golden on both sides.
Pour the tomato sauce in a large baking dish. Place the chicken on top of it. Scatter the mozzarella on top of the pieces and add a bit more grated parmesan.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and brown in places. Serve with basil and parsley, a green salad, and your favourite pasta.