How to: Chicken Parmesan

For a lot of us, we love what we love what we love.
I appreciate that a person could put a sugary lemony mascarpone on hot toast in the morning, but what I love is butter.
I appreciate that there is bacon ice cream somewhere, but I what I love is bacon between bread with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

I spend most nights trying to convince Ferdinand that there is beauty in baby bok choy
there is a song in fresh tarragon whisked with shallot and butter and white wine
there is hope in crustaceans

What he really wants is a bit of chicken dipped in flour, dipped in egg then dipped in breadcrumb, browned in olive oil with a squeeze of lemon on top. Not even tomato.
With a side of broccoli.

One day my boy may eat cheese or foods that touch each other, but there is no sense throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
He loves what he loves.

If it happens to be a day when you want a fight about as much as you want to wear low riding jeans and a midriff: make chicken parmesan and save some of the chicken for the No Touching set. Sauce up the rest for yourself.

Chicken Parmesan with or without eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and parmesan

You will need about two pounds of high quality tinned tomatoes. Use only the tomatoes and not the juice.
Seed them and chop them as finely as you can. Saute 3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled but not cut with 3 basil leaves. The garlic should go a bit golden and the basil should become dark green, but not brown. Combine with the tomato. Bring to a simmer and turn off the pan.

To add a certain je ne sais pas, add roasted eggplant as well:

Using four pounds of Japanese or baby eggplant (no seeds), slice them into rounds about a quarter inch thick. Brush a sheet pan with olive oil, cover with the eggplant in a single layer, and brush the tops with olive oil. Season lightly with salt, and bake at 350 degrees until completely soft.

For the chicken:

Get three bowls ready. One with flour, one with beaten egg that has a drop of water added and one with panko or homemade bread crumbs.

Season chicken cutlets on both sides with a bit of salt. Go easy. Keeping one hand clean, dip each cutlet first in flour, then egg (allowing the egg to drip), then crumbs. Lay the chicken onto a cooling rack set over a sheet pan after the egg wash so that it has plenty of time to drip before dipping in the crumbs. Allow the chicken to rest for a minute again on the rack after dipping in the crumbs. Saute in olive oil on both sides, flipping ONLY once. Look for a little golden at the edges of the cutlet before flipping. Do not over cook.

In a baking dish, spoon in some of the tomato sauce, make a single layer of the chicken, and a single layer of thinly sliced mozzarella(you will want one pound total), then eggplant. Scatter over parmesan, a few basil leaves, and start the layers again or keep it as a single layer. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for half an hour. You are really looking just to heat up the ingredients, and slightly melt the cheese. Serve warm, but not hot.

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