Sometimes I like to change up chicken parmesan and throw it onto a sandwich. Sometimes it’s because I’m not in the mood for the big pile of pasta I would traditionally serve on the side of the chicken. Others I just might be trying to plan to use up an entire bag of buns – harder than you think when only 2 people live in your household. Or maybe I just want a sandwich.
I make the chicken pretty much the same way I would make it if I were making it to serve as more traditional chicken parmesan, just with the addition of a dolled up bun instead of pasta. It’s a fun way to make a fancy sandwich at home.
Here’s what you need:
Start by using a meat mallet to pound the chicken to an even thickness. I don’t try to go too thin because I also want it to fit onto the bun. Just even it out. This is also a reason I typically don’t butterfly this dish – that ends up getting more surface area than I want. But you certainly could and then just trim it down.
Next we’ll prep our breading station. In one bowl you’ll need equal amounts of breadcrumbs (any kind is fine but I like to use a seasoned variety, either Italian or garlic are my top two choices) and grated parmesan cheese. In the second bowl crack an egg and add a couple tablespoons of milk. Whisk together the ingredients in each bowl.
Dip the chicken in the egg mixture. Flipping to coat both sides. Allow excess to drip off.
Next, coat the chicken on both sides with the breadcrumb mixture. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to pat it on.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of oil. You want enough space so the chicken isn’t too crowded. Place the chicken in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes per side – we’re just trying to brown it – until nice and golden brown.
Transfer the chicken to a wire rack over a foil lined baking sheet. I like using the wire rack instead of putting it directly onto the foil because it allows both sides of the chicken to get crispy. If you put it directly on the foil, the breading can stick or get soggy. Of course in a pinch it does work, but I would recommend spraying the foil with cooking spray.
Pop it into a 400 degree oven.
Cook until the chicken is almost done – shoot for about 155-160. 165 is the temperature chicken should be when fully cooked, but we’re going to dress it up and put it back into the oven. It took about 10 minutes for me to hit that temp.
One of the biggest secrets I have for cooking chicken is using a thermapen meat thermometer. They are worth the investment. Some things I cook enough to know when they’re done, but others, it’s harder to tell. This is especially nice when you grill with charcoal as the heat can vary easily based on number of coals and wind. Using a thermometer is a great way to prevent overcooked and dry chicken.
Switch the oven over to broil.
Spread each chicken breast with about a tablespoon and a half of marinara sauce. A few slices of fresh mozzarella cheese – enough to almost cover.
Pop back into the oven.
Broil for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the chicken reaches 165. You can also put it back in the 400 degree oven for more like 5-8 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, microwave some butter with a smashed clove of garlic until melted and let it sit until you’re ready to broil the chicken. This is an easy way to make a quick garlic butter.
When you throw the chicken in the broiler. Brush the butter onto the insides of two buns.
Toast face down, in a dry skillet over medium-high heat.
It took me about 3 minutes to get a nice golden toast on the buns.
To assemble the sandwiches, start by spooning some marinara onto the bottom of the buns.
Top with a cooked chicken breast and some fresh basil that you’ve cut into a chiffonade (that’s a fancy way of saying thin strips).
Enjoy this tasty, hand-held version of chicken parm. Complete with garlic bread [buns]!
- 2 chicken breasts
- ¼ c parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ c seasoned breadcrumbs, Italian or garlic flavors recommended
- 1 egg
- 2 T milk
- 2 T oil
- Marinara sauce, to taste – about a quarter cup per sandwich
- Fresh mozzarella cheese, about 3 slices per sandwich of the pre-sliced
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 2 T butter
- 2 buns
- Basil, cut into a chiffonade
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack.
- Pound the chicken to an even thickness.
- In one shallow bowl, mix together parmesan and breadcrumbs. In another shallow bowl beat the egg with the milk.
- Bread chicken. Coat both sides with the egg mixture, allow to excess to drip off. Press breadcrumbs into both sides of the chicken.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Place chicken in skillet and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side until breading is golden.
- Transfer chicken to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until the chicken reaches 160 degrees.
- Turn the oven to broil.
- Top each piece of chicken with about a tablespoon and a half of marinara. And half of the mozzarella cheese slices.
- Broil for 3-5 minutes until the chicken reaches 165 and the cheese is melted.
- Melt the butter in the microwave with the clove of smashed garlic. Brush onto the inside of both buns. Place buns inside down into a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Toast for about 3 minutes until golden.
- Spread another tablespoon and a half of marinara onto the inside bottom of each bun. Top with chicken and some of the fresh basil.