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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Classic Chicken Parmesan with Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce and Smoked Mozzarella

This was a delicious version of chicken parmesan. The oven-roasted tomato sauce had such a "rustic" flavor that reminded me of something you would find in a restaurant in Italy. It is definitely worth the extra effort to make the sauce. Enjoy!
Classic Chicken Parmesan with Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce and Smoked Mozzarella
From Emeril Lagasse
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 to 6 ounces each)
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning pasta
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 recipe Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or your favorite red pasta sauce
1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound linguine, cooked al dente and kept warm
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil leaves

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Season each chicken breast with 1/2 teaspoon of the Essence and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Place the flour into a small bowl. Place the egg and milk into a second small bowl. Place the bread crumbs into a third small bowl. Dip each chicken breast into the flour, then the beaten egg mixture, and finally into the bread crumbs, shaking to rid of excess between each step. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining breasts. When all of the breasts are breaded, heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the chicken, smooth side down, into the skillet and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts to the other side, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over each breast and divide the mozzarella slices evenly among the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until the chicken is just cooked through and the cheese melts, about 4 minutes. Adjust the oven setting to broil and continue to cook until the cheese bubbles and is lightly golden, about 1 to 2 minutes longer.
While the chicken is baking, reheat the pasta sauce if necessary. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the pasta and toss until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add enough of the pasta sauce to just coat the pasta and divide between 4 large serving plates.
When the chicken is ready, top each plate of pasta with a little more sauce and top each serving with a chicken breast. Garnish with the fresh basil and serve immediately.
Note: Regular smoked mozzarella works better in this recipe than fresh smoked mozzarella.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup

Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce:
3 pounds Romanita tomatoes, cored*
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large, 14-inch, oven proof frying pan, combine all the ingredients. Stir to blend then transfer to the oven and cook until the tomatoes begin to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and stir well. Return to the oven and continue to cook until further caramelized and much of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and transfer to a blender, in batches if necessary, and process sauce until coarsely pureed. If the sauce seems too thick, thin with a bit of water or chicken broth. Use immediately or cool completely and refrigerate for up to 4 days in a non-reactive, airtight container.
The sauce is great on pasta as well as pizza and even makes a great dipping sauce for hors d'oeuvres. If you prefer a less rustic sauce, puree completely as described above and strain.
Yield: about 4 cups sauce

* If Romanita tomatoes are unavailable, use a combination of Roma and grape tomatoes to approximate the sweetness of Romanitas, or use another type of sweet tomato, such as Amorosa.
Posted By: Julia
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