I grew up on chicken parmesan (chicky chicky parm parm, as Tom Haverford would call it) and John did too, so we’re big fans and we make it at home a lot. Usually this just means tossing some chicken in the oven, baking it, and then loading on the cheese and sauce. Good enough, but not bonkers amazing.
A few nights ago we were watching America’s Test Kitchen (like we do every night) and this recipe for the best chicken parm was on (video here). John immediately asked if I could make this for his birthday and I obliged (because I love my hubs and because this recipe looked insanely good). It’s a labor of love, for sure, but so worth it. I’ve actually made it again since this first try too!
America’s Test Kitchen’s Best Chicken Parmesan (original recipe here, serves 4)
2 (6-8 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fontina cheese, shredded
1 large egg
1 tbsp. AP flour
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Whatever else you enjoy your parm with – marinara sauce, pasta, garlic bread, etc.
To begin, start by cutting the chicken breasts in half into thin cutlets. Pound until they are uniformly thin (about 1/2 inch). Sprinkle each side of each cutlet with 1/8 teaspoon salt and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the chicken will have let off a noticeable amount of moisture. Pat dry with a paper towel – we want nice, dry cutlets so the breading adheres.
While the chicken and salt are working, you can shred the fontina and mozzarella, and mix them together (or just mix together if you got the pre-shredded kind). This recipe calls for fontina because mozzarella lacks a little in the flavor department. I completely agree after trying this recipe; the fontina is super rich and creamy, the perfect compliment to the mozz. Fun fact: the fontina at Whole Foods is called Fontal (slightly different name, same exact cheese) and it is magnificent.
You can also prep the breading situation while you wait too. In one shallow bowl mix the parm cheese, panko, and spices together thoroughly. In another shallow bowl whisk the egg and flour together until it is smooth/there are no lumps.
When all of the ingredients are ready to go, form an assembly line – chicken, egg/flour, coating, and plate.
Dredge each chicken breast in the egg/flour first, then coat in the breading (pat the coating into the cutlet for more coverage), and then place back on the plate.
While you’re prepping the chicken, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When it begins to shimmer, place half of the chicken cutlets into the oil and fry until brown (about 2-3 minutes per side). Make sure to take the temperature of the chicken to make sure it has cooked through (we’re looking for 165 degrees here). If it’s not done, just leave in the pan and reduce the heat a bit, waiting until it gets to 165. Tool tip: this is my go-to meat thermometer and I love it.
When all of the cutlets have been fried and are cooked through, place them on a broiler safe pan lined with tinfoil, top with the fontina/mozzarella mixture, and broil until the cheese is bubbly and melty.
Serve over pasta, veggies, or by itself. This recipe is classic ATK because they found the best way to get crispy, delicious chicken parm – include parm cheese in the breading, pan fry, mix the fontina and mozz to avoid the standard gummy cheese on top, and serve with the sauce on top to avoid soggy parm. Geniuses! This recipe is pretty flawless and is already a household favorite!