the life and times of J T Frey

Chicken Parmesan (Good Eats style)

From one of my favorite cooking shows — Good Eats — comes a fantastic recipe for chicken parmasan. The episode that led the fall 2019 season of the show discussed the history of the dish, the virtues of authentic San Marzano tomatoes, and a good use for salt-and-vinegar potato chips. I made a few minor alterations to tweak the flavors and portion size to our family of four.


Tomato sauce

  • 1 can (28 oz) San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp + small drizzle olive oil (extra virgin is okay)
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (or two whole filets)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp grated parmasan cheese

Breadcrumb mixture

  • 10 g salt-and-vinegar chips
  • 60 g panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Breading station (each in separate bowl)

  • 35 g A.P. flour (seasoned with freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 egg
  • Breadcrumb mixture


  • 2 large chicken breasts (trimmed with tenders removed)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella and provolone

Tomato sauce

  1. In a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil into a paste.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and the garlic paste to a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add anchovy paste and red pepper flake, cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and parmasan cheese and stir well to combine.
  5. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the sauce has reduced and thickened nearly to a paste.


  1. Butterfly each chicken breast and pound to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 6 to 8 equal-sized pieces.
  2. Salt the chicken on both sides and refrigerate 30 minutes on a wire rack, covered with plastic wrap.
  3. Remove chicken from refrigerator and pat dry on both sides. Dip each piece in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs (shake off excess flour and breadcrumb.) Allow breaded cutlets to rest on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  4. Place a saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. Pan fry the chicken without crowding the pan (took me two batches), two minutes per side. Transfer and hold on a wire rack.
  5. Transfer the cutlets to a baking dish and sprinkle the shredded cheese over it. Place under the broiler for two minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Note that step 5 is a major deviation from classic chicken parmesan: the sauce doesn't go on the chicken prior to finishing in the oven. I prefer to serve the chicken cheesed and as crispy as possible with the sauce on the side, to allow each diner to use as much sauce as they desire. If you want the classic recipe, smear half the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, add the chicken cutlets, then drop a spoonful of sauce atop each piece of chicken before sprinkling with the cheese.

Written by Jeff Frey on Sunday September 22, 2019
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