One day Frank was looking for a way to punch up his classic chicken parm dinner (his new wife had obviously quickly grown tired of the only meal he could make). He stumbled upon his secret ingredient, like so many of us do, while starring into a mostly empty refrigerator knowing that his wife (did we mention she wears the pants?) would be home any minute and would be demanding a meal that, if she enjoyed, would mean that Frank would be treated to anything he asked for later that evening.
- 3 large whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3 pounds total) split and trimmed
- 2 cups milk
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- Pinch of coarse salt
- 6 cups unseasoned dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cans prepared chicken gravy
- 1/2 pound fresh muenster cheese, thinly sliced
Using a meat tenderizer or a heavy skillet, pound the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap until flat, about a 1/4 inch in thickness. Place the milk, flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow baking dishes. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt. Dip each breast in the following order; milk, flour (shake off excess), eggs, and bread crumbs (be sure to press down firmly while coating with the bread crumbs). Check to see if wife is home yet.
In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat until sizzling. Arrange the chicken breasts in the pan without crowding, cooking in batches if necessary. Reduce the heat, and cook the chicken until golden brown and the juices run clear when poked with a sharp fork, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to a baking sheet lined with paper towels; pat off excess oil. Check to see if wife is home yet.
Arrange chicken in the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish. Add the gravy to the pan until all the chicken is covered. Add the thinly sliced muenster cheese until all of the chicken is covered. Place in oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Needless to say, Frank’s wife was impressed that he made something else, even though it was still chicken. He was duly rewarded after dinner when his wife, who had thoroughly enjoyed the new meal, washed the dishes for him.