Chicken Parma and Fast Fries2/04/2015 07:35:00 AM
|Parma, Chips Salad|
Ta-dah! A chicken parma! I'm not normally into pub food, but the other day I suddenly got a craving for a parma, and thought: "Hey! I could totally make one of those myself!". I'm not sure if a chicken parma is a 'thing' overseas, but in case you didn't know, here in Australia it's a pub staple and is a chicken schnitzel, topped with a tomato-based sauce and cheese. Boom.
I wanted to make them for Friday night dinner, and was planning on buying ingredients earlier in the week, but - oops - totally ran out of time. I was exhausted by the time the end of the week rolled around, but I had been looking forward to my parma all week, and there was no way I was going to miss out! So, I rushed home from work at five, went out to buy the ingredients and then got busy in the kitchen. We were tucking into crispy fried schnitzel goodness by about eight PM, which I thought was pretty good going. Obviously if you're more organised than I was, you could be stuffing your face with schnitzel quite a bit earlier.
Let's take a look!
I made a simple tomato sauce, the type you might use for pasta - sautéed onions and garlic, a tin of crushed tomatoes, simmered until thick. My recipe, using one 400 gram tin of tomatoes, makes more than enough sauce to cover two chicken breasts, but you can't buy half a tin, so you may as well use it all. Besides, it's always nice to have a bit of extra sauce knocking about, and no-one wants a dry breast. (Hah).
And speaking of which...
I'm really into my schnitz, and have been cooking them since I was eight - they were one of the first things I ever learned to cook! Here are a few tips I've picked up over the years to make them even tastier. To make them cook evenly, I use a rolling pin to pound the chicken breasts to a relatively even thickness. I also like to amp up the flavour by adding cayenne pepper to the flour, and adding Dijon mustard and dried oregano to the egg mixture. (If you're not going to smother the finished schnitzel with tomato sauce and melted cheese, I'd suggest adding grated parmesan cheese to the crumb mixture too).
A few tips for crispy schnitzels - once you have crumbed the meat, let it rest on a cooling rack before frying. This keeps it dry and maximises the crunch factor. Similarly, if you're not serving them as soon as they're cooked, remove them from the pan and let them drain on a cooling rack, rather than on a plate or tray. This allows steam to evaporate and stops the meat from going soggy. In this case, my schnitzels were going straight into the oven, so I put them onto a lined baking tray...
... smothered them in sauce...
...and then covered them in cheese. Yay.
|Cheesy saucy breasts|
Now, fast fries. This is a Nigella recipe from Nigella Express, and is one of the fastest ways to cook potatoes that I know. Some pounding required. You take some new potatoes, then bash them until they break up into knobbly, uneven pieces. (I chopped them into quarters before pounding them so that they wouldn't go flying across the kitchen bench!)
|Potatoes, ready for frying|
Then you fry them in a thin layer of oil for about five minutes a side, partially covered with a lid, until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through.
With the parma and fast fries, I served a salad of mixed leaves topped with sliced avocado (of course), sliced apples, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a dressing of Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. It tastes nice, and breaks up an otherwise uniformly brown meal. I also had it with a Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen. Because beer.
I won't lie, frying schnitzels and chips is hot, sweaty, smoky work - you will definitely need to wash your hair afterwards - but for me, it's totally worth it. Enjoy!
An original recipe by Sarah Cooks
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
400 gram tin chopped tomatoes
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice
Oil for frying
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 210C.
Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until thickened.
Meanwhile, place a chicken breast between two pieces of clingfilm and using a rolling pin or similar, gently pound the breast so that it is an even thickness. Set aside and repeat with the other breast.
Get out three shallow bowls. Place the flour and cayenne pepper in one of the bowls and stir to combine. Whisk the egg, mustard and oregano together in the second bowl. Finally, place the breadcrumbs in the third bowl.
Dip each breast in the flour, followed by the egg mixture and the crumbs.
Heat some olive oil in a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the crumbed breasts for approx 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Place the breasts on a baking tray.
Top the breasts with a scoop of tomato sauce, followed by the grated cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and brown.
Serve with salad and chips.