Friday, August 8, 2008

37. Parmesan Chicken (p. 356)

A few weeks ago, my wife was craving "mustardy" chicken. I looked through The Book for a recipe that fit the bill, and came up empty. So, I modified the recipe for Pork Chops with Mustard Crumbs by cooking it with chicken breasts. I'm not sure how I missed this recipe in my search, but I'm glad I found it now.

The "Gourmet twist" in this recipe is the use of English muffin crumbs as the coating. This is one of those little tricks that seems odd at first, but in the finished dish, it makes perfect sense. The crumbs were crispy and moist at the same time, and they were a nice compliment to the mustard and cheese flavors.

The recipe is pretty easy. First you coat boneless, skinless chicken breasts with Dijon mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Then you dredge the chicken in the English muffin crumbs, patting them into the surface to make a nice crust. Finally, the chicken goes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake. That's it. As you can see from this picture, I set up a little assembly line for the chicken, crumbs, and baking sheet. Aren't I efficient?

The Book says to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, but that's probably because the Gourmet test kitchen doesn't use the genetically-altered, giant chicken breasts that they sell at my local mega-mart. If I had it to do over again, I'd pound them out a little bit to make them flatter.

The flavor of this dish was great. The chicken was very moist with a nice crispy coating and a good parmesan-mustard flavor. It was nice an light. Nothing dramatic. Just really good, week-night chicken.

One last thing. If you make this recipe, you might not want to make more than you can eat at once. I was less than impressed with the leftovers. The crumb coating got a little soggy in the microwave. I suppose that I could have kept the crispiness if I reheated it in the oven. But who's got time for that?

Date Cooked: August 3, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: B+

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