I started this adventure of the FNCCC fully intending to choose recipes and follow them exactly (or as closely as possible due to ingredient availability) so that I could decide if the recipe as written was good or if it was a stinker. I've managed to do this so far, but this week I ran into a wall. I don't know WHO is proofreading these recipes before they go up on the website but I have some serious doubts about ingredient amounts on this one. There was also an ingredient that I didn't recognize, so I Googled it. The only hits Google had were pages of this same exact recipe which didn't exactly give me confidence since there were no other mentions of it anywhere. I don't think it really exists. That said, I made some adjustments to this one.
Most of the Bobby Flay recipes were grilling recipes. I didn't want to do a grilling recipe... so I chose one of the few that wasn't! My thoughts are in parenthesis and italics.
Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper (You do NOT need two cups of flour to dredge chicken breasts in... I used a half a cup for two breasts and probably still could've done two more)
4 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water and seasoned with salt and pepper (Four eggs?! Serious overkill. One large egg should be enough)
2 cups panko bread crumbs (1 cup is plenty)
1 cup vegetable oil or pure olive oil (You aren't deep frying the chicken, so I have no idea why this calls for so much oil. A couple tablespoons in the bottom of the pan is more than enough)
Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (This is actually just about right, fresh mozzarella is heavy!!)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Fresh basil or parsley leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each breast in the flour and tap off excess, then dip in the egg and let excess drip off, then dredge on both sides in the bread crumbs.
Divide the oil between 2 large saute pans and heat over high heat until almost smoking (Honestly, I think dirtying up two pans for this step is silly, if your meat doesn't all fit just do it in two batches). Add 2 chicken breasts to each pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side (I pounded the chicken REALLY thin, and my oil was hot, so 2 minutes per side would've resulted in very burned breaded chicken- 30-45 seconds per side was better). Transfer to a baking sheet.
Top each breast with some tomato sauce, a few slices of the mozzarella, salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of Parmesan. Bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 5 to 7 minutes (7 minutes was just right for mine). Remove from the oven and garnish with basil or parsley leaves.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped (The all knowing interwebs inform me that a "Spanish" onion is a regular old yellow onion)
4 cloves garlic, smashed with some kosher salt to make a paste
2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, pureed in a blender
1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 small bunch Italian parsley (I have no idea how much a "small bunch" is, so I used a handful which isn't really any more of an accurate measurement than "small bunch" is, sorry!)
1 Cubano chile pepper, chopped (This doesn't exist... I figured out that they probably meant a "Cuban pepper" which eventually led me to a cubanelle pepper. I couldn't seem to find one of those either, so I substituted a yellow bell pepper which is supposedly somewhat similar.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add pureed tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup water (I wouldn't add this next time), bay leaf, parsley, Cubano pepper, and bring to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes (I let mine simmer for an hour or so because I like a thicker sauce).
The Verdict: The chicken was SO amazingly tender, but we both thought that it should've been seasoned a bit more. I'm thinking seasoning the chicken beforehand, or seasoning the breadcrumbs would both work. I thought the sauce recipe as written was a little bit runny, so I'd leave out the water next time but the flavor was nice. The recipe makes A LOT of sauce. Way more than you'd need for your chicken, so keep that in mind and plan it into your leftovers for the week!