Monday, 14 November 2011

Posh chicken parmo

If you're a northerner who enjoys a good old night out, I dare say there's been a time when you've become acquainted with a chicken parmo. The dirty little sister of a veal parmigiana, drunken Teessiders have been enjoying the post-pub snack of a flattened chicken breast, deep fried and covered with lashings of white sauce and cheese since as far back as most can remember. Legend has it that the chicken parmo made its first appearance back in the 1950's, and it's been dividing opinions ever since. Hotelier and food writer Ruth Watson even went so far as to call the poor parmo 'the antichrist of cooking'.

I'll be honest: I'm not a big fan. But in honour of the north east tradition, I've honed this recipe from something I saw on Channel 4's Cookery School a little while ago. A posh parmo, if you will, far more refined than a takeaway shop counterpart. The runny egg, crispy capers and salty anchovies replace the cheese, and it's an all-round more civilised affair, perfect for an after work dinner.

Five pints of lager prior to consumption not necessary.

Recipe serves 2.

You'll need:

For the parmo:
2 boneless chicken breasts
50g plain flour
1 large egg, beaten
75g white breadcrumbs
25g grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the crispy caper and fried egg topping:
25g capers
2 large eggs
4 anchovies

  • Butterfly your chicken breasts by laying them flat on a chopping board, with the flat side facing down. Place your hand on top of the breast and carefully slice it in half widthwise, almost to the other edge.
  • Place a piece of cling film on the chopping board and put your first chicken breast on it, opened out like a book after you've butterflied it, and place another piece of cling film on top. Use a rolling pin to hammer the breast out until it's about 1.5cm thick. Repeat for the second breast.
  • Mix the Parmesan cheese with the breadcrumbs and put on a plate. On two separate plates, put the flour and beaten egg.
  • Dip the chicken breasts firstly in the flour, then the beaten egg, then the Parmesan cheese and bread, making sure they're really well coated.
  • Heat a frying pan on a medium to high heat. Add the 3tbsps of oil and once heated, add the chicken breasts. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • Put a smaller frying pan on a high heat with 1tbsp of oil. Throw in the capers for 3-4 minutes or until they're crispy.
  • Meanwhile, heat a third frying pan over a medium heat, add 1tbsp of oil and crack in 2 eggs. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • To serve, place each chicken breast on a plate, top with a fried egg and sprinkle over the crispy capers. Lay two anchovies across each egg in a criss-cross.
Best with a salad, wedges of lemon and a big glass of white wine.

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