Chicken Parmigiana with a Rocket Salad

A healthier version of the classic. Satisfying, comforting, and easy to make – what more do you need?

Feeds 2, but easily scaled up

Ingredients

For the chicken:

2 medium chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

2 heaped tbsp flour

1 egg

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan

1 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the tomato sauce:

1/2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano leaves

Pinch of chilli flakes

2 cups (500g) of passata (or crushed tomatoes)

1 tsp sugar

For the rocket salad:

1 bag (approx. 60g) rocket

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method:

To make the tomato sauce, add the olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, chilli flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper to a cold saucepan. Turn the heat on to medium and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant. Add the passata, 1/4 cup of water and the sugar. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and cook for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, either turn the heat down to keep warm, or turn the heat off and reheat later on.

To make the chicken, use a knife to butterfly the chicken breasts by holding the knife at the edge of the meat and making a cut part-way into the side of each chicken breast, at the thickest part, folding it out like a book. Place a sheet of cling film over the top of the chicken and use a rolling pin to pound out into an even thickness.

Tip: If your chicken breasts are very large, one will feed two people, no problem. Cut in half across the equator of the chicken breast and pound out into an even thickness, as above.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/200C Fan.

Make the breadcrumb mixture by combining in a food processor the breadcrumbs, minced garlic, parmesan, olive oil and salt and pepper. Whizz until combined.

Set up your breading station as follows: one plate with the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper; one shallow bowl with a beaten egg and a pinch of salt and pepper; one plate with the breadcrumb mixture.

Bread the chicken by first coating in the flour, then dipping in the egg, then the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat. Place the breaded chicken on the parchment-lined baking tray, then repeat with the remaining chicken breast.

Tip: Chicken can be breaded up to 4 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Bake for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for a further 15 minutes. Turn the broiler (grill) on. Place the sliced mozzarella on the chicken and add a grating of parmesan, a small pinch of salt and a small drizzle of olive oil. Place the chicken back in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted.

Meanwhile, make sure the tomato sauce is piping hot (if you made it earlier). Check the seasoning, adding more salt or sugar as required. (Some tomatoes can be really acidic – you may need to double or even treble the sugar in this case.)

While the cheese is melting, toss the rocket with the lemon and a small drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the tomato sauce onto plates, then nestle the chicken in the sauce. Add a large handful of the dressed rocket on top, then grate a scant dusting of parmesan on top. Serve.

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