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Friday, August 9, 2013

Chicken Parm Sandwiches

Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches
Okay, so one way to save time when you want a healthy homemade supper on a busy weeknight, is to buy prefabricated cuts of meat. Can you even use that word when it comes to meat?  Well, I just did, so...

Yes, as in, cutting meat adds time.  It's not hard to break down bigger cuts of meat, if you know how.  And usually buying larger cuts and doing it yourself is cheaper.  However, if you're savvy and keep one eye on the sales flyers, you can save yourself both time and money.  And clean-up, I might add.  There's not much that I enjoy less than cleaning up after raw chicken.

So yes, keep your eyes peeled for those packages of chicken "tenders" and "thinly sliced chicken breast" to go on sale, utilize your freezer, and you're on easy street.
Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches
One more thing about this recipe.  Normally I wouldn't recommend that you use the powdered form of Parmesan cheese for much.  You know the comes in a tall, green-plastic-covered canister.  I always have a wedge of Parmesan in the fridge, but the dryer, powdery version is going to give you a better coating in this case.

You can use the same method to make Chicken Parmesan tenders if you happened to have picked up those tenders on sale, by the way...

Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-20 minutes

Ingredients (8 sandwiches)
    for the sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large onion, small dice
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 24 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (sliced into julienne)
    • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    for the chicken:
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • 8 thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets (~1-1/2 lbs.)
    • 2/3 cup powdered Parmesan cheese
    • 2/3 cup prepared Italian bread crumbs
    • olive oil, as needed
    to finish the sandwich:
    • 8 good-sized rolls (such as telera), split
    • olive oil
    • 6 ounces mozzarella (shredded or sliced into 8)
    • 16 fresh basil leaves
    making the sauce:
    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes, until it just starts to turn soft. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes with their juices and basil to the skillet. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thick, yet still saucy, ~10 minutes. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper to taste, keep warm.

    making the chicken:
    In the meantime, place the chicken into a bowl or large zippered baggie and pour the milk over it, along with a couple big pinches of each salt and pepper. Move the chicken all around so that all of it is coated in the milk and seasoning.

    Combine the Parmesan (I like to use the powdered kind you can buy in the shaker jar for this - it marries perfectly with the bread crumbs to make a tasty breading) and seasoned bread crumbs in a pie plate.
    Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in the bottom of a large skillet. Lift the chicken out of the milk, shaking a bit so that it doesn't drip. Dip each cutlet into the Parmesan crumbs, turning to coat well. Add to the hot skillet and cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes (adding another drizzle of oil to the bottom of the skillet when you flip), or until cooked through and the breading is golden on both sides. Do this in two batches, or with 2 skillets, if you like.

    finishing the sammies:
    Preheat the broiler. Divide the mozzarella slices or shreds evenly on top of the chicken parm cutlets and set under the broiler to melt (right in the skillet, if your skillet can go into/under the heat).

    Brush the cut side of the rolls with a little bit of oil and place those under the broiler to get golden and toasty at the same time.

    To serve, slather one-eighth of the sauce onto each bottom bun. Place the chicken with melted cheese on top of that. Top with 2 basil leaves and the top bun. Enjoy!

    -adapted from Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners
    Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

    Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches