How to Make a Truly Devastating Chicken Parm, The Ultimate Date-Night Dish
Paris's Mamma Primi has one of the best recipes in the biz ... and now you do, too
In New York City, chicken parm has become such a popular date food that some have gone so far as to call the hearty Italian dish an aphrodisiac.
While it doesn’t really enjoy the same reputation in the City of Love, chicken parm does have a foothold in Paris thanks to its presence on the menus at Big Mamma, a group of distinctive, delicious, Instagram-friendly Italian restaurants around the city.
Co-founded by Victor Lugger of France and Tigrane Seydoux of Monaco in 2013, Big Mamma Group formed with the goal of being able to serve authentic Italian food in amazing places.
One of those places is Mamma Primi, which made crispy chicken alla parmigiana a part of its menu the day it opened. “All our customers were really delighted and it felt very special,” Lugger tells InsideHook.
Incorporated within Big Mamma’s parm is tomato confit, a versatile creation that can be used cold as a topping for bruschetta or heated to make quick tomato sauces to serve with eggs, meats and more.
“I know this dish from our chef Virginia,” Seydoux says. “She told me memories of how she and her friends would often prepare it at lunchtime, gathering all together for a meal. And in Rome, where she’s from, they cook it with pork. The dish is a take on the classic eggplant parmigiana. You can also make it with veal or lamb, so it’s super versatile. It has a warm familial feel as both chicken and eggplants are staple ingredients in many homes.”
Made with quality chicken, fresh produce from local farmers’ markets and silky smooth mozzarella di bufala purchased directly from Italy, Big Mamma’s chicken parm may not get you a date in Paris the same way it might in New York, but hey, at least you won’t have to share.
The recipes for Big Mamma’s crispy chicken alla parmigiana and tomato confit, which can also be found in the new Big Mamma Cucina Popolare cookbook, are below.
“This is a recipe that literally everyone can make in their home,” Lugger says. “Easy to source ingredients, unfussy preparation, perfect for those times you want something quick but full of flavor. The recipe is really uncomplicated but super delicious. To balance and contrast the texture and flavors of the dish, you can pair it with a nice fresh salad, dressed with a good quality balsamic vinegar. For sipping on the side, try a light and refined red wine like a Bardolino.”
BIG MAMMA’S CHICKEN PARM
- 9 oz buffalo mozzarella (or cow’s milk mozzarella cheese), thinly sliced
- 4 x 5-oz chicken breasts
- 4 whole eggs, beaten
- 14 oz (3¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus a little for the eggplant
- 14 oz (4 cups) dried breadcrumbs, or 5 cups panko or crushed cornflake crumbs
- 34 fl oz (4¼ cups) sunflower oil
- 1 eggplant cut into /¼-inch thick slices
- 12 Tomato Confit (see below)
- 8 basil sprigs, to garnish
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Place the mozzarella slices on a plate, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to draw out the liquid for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, open out the chicken breasts by cutting them lengthwise. Flatten them with a meat tenderizer. Put the beaten eggs in one dish, the flour in a second and the breadcrumbs in a third. Roll each chicken breast in the eggs, then the flour and finally the breadcrumbs, coating them well.
- In a deep fryer or large heavy-based pan, heat the oil to 160°C/325°F, or until small bubbles form on the surface. Working in batches, fry the chicken in the hot oil for about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Reserve the hot oil in the pan.
- Roll the aubergine (eggplant) slices in the flour, then fry for about 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with baking (parchment) paper and put the chicken escalopes (cutlets) onto it, spacing them apart. Add 1 or 2 slices of aubergine, 2 or 3 slices of mozzarella and 3 tomato confit halves on each escalope. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- Put the chicken escalopes onto plates, add the basil leaves and serve.
- 10½ oz (2 cups) datterini or cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- fine salt
- 1 teaspoon icing (confectioners’) sugar
- 4 thyme sprigs
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Wash and halve the tomatoes vertically.
- Place each half cut-side down in an ovenproof dish.
- Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and the sugar and add the thyme.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
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