Relationships are all about compromise, right?
I’ve never been a huge fan of pepperoni. I’m not sure why, since I love salami, sausage, and pretty much every other relative imaginable. But something about the thought of pepperoni always grosses me out. I think pizza has ruined pepperoni for me; its flavor is so strong that it always drowns out all my other beloved pizza toppings. Nick, on the other hand, will eat an entire pound of pepperoni, straight out of the bag, in one sitting.
So when I stumbled across a recipe from Food & Wine magazine for Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni, I immediately thought, “Wow, Nick would really love this.”
My next thought was, “Eww, what the heck is pepperoni doing in Food & Wine magazine??!” While Rachel Ray would certainly cook with pepperoni, I always considered Food & Wine to be a little too classy to consider using such a lowly meat-ish product. (By the way, I am totally not dissing Rachel. I actually love her and have a slight crush on her).
Alas, Food & Wine has never steered me wrong before, so I decided to give pepperoni another chance. Plus, I knew how excited Nick would be to eat something covered in cheese and pepperoni.
The verdict? The most delicious, perfectly crunchy yet saucy and cheesy chicken parm I have ever eaten, let alone made. YOU MUST MAKE THIS NOW. The pepperoni gave it the perfect amount of spice without overpowering it. In the spirit of compromises, I did use turkey pepperoni. I’m no ‘roni connosieur, but it tasted the same to me. The ingredient list was equally as scary, but at less than half the fat, at least our arteries didn’t get quite as clogged.
Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni
(adapted from Food & Wine magazine)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 c milk
- 1/2 c flour
- salt & pepper
- 2 c panko breadcrumbs
- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3/4 c canola oil
- 1 1/2 c jarred pasta sauce
- 1/4 c parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
- 1 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 oz sliced turkey pepperoni
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Pound your chicken out to 3/4 inch thick. Generally, you would use a meat mallet for this. Meat mallets are one of those seemingly useless kitchen tools that everyone acquires and uses once a year. I’m pretty sure we have at least 3 of them. However, when we moved, knowing it was a temporary move, I decided only to unpack common and basic kitchen tools. Our three meat mallets are currently hibernating somewhere in our “room of junk.”
There was definitely no finding a mallet:
So, it was time to get creative. A nice heavy odd-shaped wine bottle did the trick:
Now you need to assemble a breading station. You’ll need three dishes. In one, mix together the flour, salt & pepper. In another, beat the eggs and milk together. The last one gets the breadcrumbs.
Dip the chicken into the bowls in order: flour, eggs, breadcrumbs.
Heat the canola oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once you see little ripples in it, or it starts making popping noises, it’s time to put the chicken in. Cook the chicken until golden brown, flipping it once.
The recipe said 7 minutes, but mine was nice and crispy after 5, so I took it out, not wanting to burn it.
Drain the chicken on some papertowels, then put it into a baking dish. Cover it with the sauce, parm, mozz, and ‘roni. Then into the oven it goes!
15 minutes later…
While it was in the oven, I made some linguini with red sauce to go with it.
We both really loved this meal! And I learned something: If you think you don’t like something, just prepare it a different way. You might surprise yourself!
Sounds awesome Jess! The panko is definitely the key, makes a nice crunchy crust. This recipe reminds me of a chicken parm recipe in my light cookbook (obviously there’s no delicious pepperoni in that one though!). If you want to make it slightly better for you, you can also put the breaded uncooked breasts on a cooling rack set on top of a cookie sheet and bake them. Keeps the crunchy crust w/o the oil. 🙂
OK I think you need to come home and cook something for your mother.