I love things that are crusted. The problem is, half the time it’s usually deep-fried in a ton of oil (yum). Baking it kind of reduces the oil, reduces tons of fat (by 14g), and still gives it a nice golden crust. Using panko bread crumbs also gives it a crispiness that is associated with deep-fried heaven. I used whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs which, despite trying to BE panko, is texturally different (like whole-wheat bread vs white). Except in this case, whole-wheat is still incredibly crunchy and delicious. This recipe was adapted from my god-send of healthy cooking, The Best Light Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen.
Oven-“Fried” Chicken Parmesan
2 (or 3) 8-ounce large chicken breasts
1.5 cups (whole-wheat) panko breadcrumbs
1 ounce (about 1/2 c) grated parmesan
1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp garlic powder
3 large egg whites
1 tbsp water
vegetable oil spray
your favorite tomato sauce
3 oz (low-fat) Mozzarella, shredded
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
~310 cal, 8g fat, 75mg chol, 20g carbs, 38gprotein, 790mg sodium
Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 475F.
Trim the fat off the chicken and slice into cutlets. I have terrible knife skills but basically, you cut it as if you were butterflying the chicken but slice it all the way through. You’re then left with flatter cutlets. Easy enough except I’m incredibly bad at this and some were fatter or had holes in them.
Here’s how to get a beautiful, golden-brown coating on the chicken: Pre-toast the crumbs. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bread crumbs and toast over medium-heat. With whole-wheat panko, it’s a little hard to tell when it’s done but it does turn a slightly darker brown– should take about 10 minutes. Spread it in a shallow dish and cool off.
In another dish, combine flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. In another dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place over it, a wire rack that has been sprayed with vegetable oil. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the cutlets in flour, shaking off excess. Dip into egg whites and finally, the bread crumbs. Lay the chicken on the wire rack and spray them with vegetable oil.
Bake until the meat is cooked through and feels firm when pressed– about 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken, spoon about 2 tablespoons of sauce over the top and 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella (I got excited and just sliced it). return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle with basil and lay it over a bed of fettuccine (leftovers from the last recipe). Serve with a side of steamed broccoli and carrots.
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Steaming Vegs in the Microonda (microwave)
I have a friend who taught me how to steam broccoli (and carrots) in the microwave. Just put a plate over a bowl of fresh broccoli and microwave for a half a minute. Carrots may have to go in for longer. He seasons it with some garlic powder (and tabasco.. ugh)! Super fast, especially if you’re short on time. I prefer, however, to blanch my broccoli in some salted boiling water for 4 or 5 minutes and season with a little salt if needed– it’s easier to keep it crispier.