4boneless chicken breasts (pounded to ½ inch thickness)
¾cupgrated parmesan, separated
½teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
3large eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
2cupsshredded mozzarella or 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
2cupsstore-bought marinara sauce
2tablespoonchopped basil for topping
Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together breadcrumbs, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk eggs. In third bowl, place flour.
In a large cast iron skillet, add oil to ¼ inch depth and heat over medium heat. While skillet is heating up, pound chicken breasts to ½ inch thickness or buy chicken cutlets that are already thin. Dredge chicken in flour, then eggs and then breadcrumbs, making sure chicken is completely coated.
When skillet is hot, add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes on both sides or until browned. Repeat until chicken is down.
In a 9x13 inch baking dish, lightly brush with olive oil and spread enough marinara sauce to cover the bottom. Place chicken in pan and cover each piece of chicken with remaining Parmesan, marinara sauce and mozzarella - in that order. (Note - you might need to use two dishes if the chicken is too big to fit in one)
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until chicken is cooked and cheese is bubbly and browning. Top with fresh basil.
Pound the chicken breasts so the chicken is thin enough to cook quickly and ensure even cooking. You can also use chicken cutlets.
Use a combination of Italian and panko breadcrumbs to get the right breading and crispiness.
Add cold oil to a cold skillet and let heat up to proper temperature before adding the chicken. You'll know it is ready when the oil starts to shimmer.
Just use your favorite store brand marinara sauce. No need for extra work here. I go with Prego.
Use freshly grated Parmesan to top the chicken. Never buy pre-shredded Parmesan cheese as it contains wood pulp. Blocks of Parmesan cheese are also cheaper.
For the same reason, use fresh mozzarella. It adds that gooeyness you can't get from pre-shredded.
You know the chicken is cooked when it reaches 165°F with an instant-read thermometer or if you cut into the chicken and the juices run clear and there is no pink. Honestly, I always just cut the chicken to see when it is done. If it isn't just cook slightly longer.
Leftovers will store well in the fridge for 2-3 days in an air-tight container or be frozen for 3 months.