I felt like making Chicken Parmesan the other day, but my husband and I are really trying to watch what we eat before our vacation in a few weeks. So I remembered seeing a Light Chicken Parmesan recipe on Annie's Eats blog and decided to try it out.
It was really good, although my husband and I both like my traditional fried version better! But if you are looking for a light version of a not so light classic, this is a great recipe. I really liked toasting the panko before I breaded the chicken, it made for a super crispy crust. Either way, I will definitely be making it again!
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Originally from Cook's Illustrated, October 2006
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I used Italian Style Panko)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
3 large egg whites (I used 2 egg whites and that was plenty)
1 tbsp. water
vegetable cooking spray
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into halves (4 pieces total) (I used 2 chicken breasts, pounded thin, for a total of 2 pieces)
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed (I used about 1.5 cups)
about 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh basil (I omitted)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F**(see note)**. Combine the breadcrumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat until golden, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and allow to cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.
In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish whisk together the egg whites and water.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with vegetable oil spray (I used a baking dish). Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour to coat completely, shaking off the excess. Then dip into the egg whites and finally coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Press on the breadcrumbs to make sure they adhere. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce over the top of each piece of chicken and top with 2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and serve as desired, with extra Parmesan and marinara sauce.
**Note: In terms of the cooking time, I put the chicken in for 1 hour at 350 degrees, which is what I always do for chicken parm. In addition, I cover the baking dish with foil. It always works out perfectly for me and leaves me with very moist chicken that I know is completely cooked through! About halfway through cooking time I add the Marinara and the cheese.