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The Ultimate Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich


Al Dente
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Hi All-- there is a tradition in one of my inlaw families of Chicken Parmigiana Sandwiches on my mother-in-law's birthday. They're quite the delicious. This year, I've been asked to host this dinner because of the extensive kitchen renovations going on at their place.

She's quite a foodie, so I want to give it my best shot. Where can I find the best baguette's? The best cheese? Do you think it's worth it to try burrata? Which red sauce would pack the most punch?

It'd be great to hear everyone's ideas. Thanks all!

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Hi All-- there is a tradition in one of my inlaw families of Chicken Parmigiana Sandwiches on my mother-in-law's birthday. They're quite the delicious. This year, I've been asked to host this dinner because of the extensive kitchen renovations going on at their place.

She's quite a foodie, so I want to give it my best shot. Where can I find the best baguette's? The best cheese? Do you think it's worth it to try burrata? Which red sauce would pack the most punch?

It'd be great to hear everyone's ideas. Thanks all!

Of all the ingredients, I'd say the tomato sauce has the potential to bring the most flavor. Try a smoky tomato confit, and maybe a small piece of salt pork (remove before serving!) to give it an extra something. Finish with fresh sage.

I don't recommend a crusty baguette. You want something that will hug the innards and keep them safe - something softer than a baguette. A really good Italian roll with both sides toasted in butter and rubbed with fresh garlic will do great.

I don't know about burrata... the cheese on chicken parm should be slightly browned, and I feel like burrata is best enjoyed uncooked.

Between the cheese and the chicken, you'll need to bring a lot of countertextural CRUNCH to the party. For the chicken I like a tempura batter made with Prosecco and LIBERAL amounts of panko breadcrumbs. Make sure the bread is nice and toasted!

Of course, that's all if you want a more conventional chicken parm. You can always not cook the burrata, use whole pieces of skin-on chicken crisped up with salt and thyme, and make a tomato jam. Or something.

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I would recommend against using burratta on the sandwich--its appeal is that it has fresh cream in the center, which would only make a sandwich soggy. A better choice would be mozzarella di bufala, which you can usually find at Trader Joe's in single containers or at Costco in tubs containing four rounds of cheese, at a very good price.

Marvelous Market ciabatta bread would work, if you remove some of the bread inside--the dimensions of the bread allow for a good sized sandwich, but would make a sandwich too thick and dense without some of the innards of the bread removed.

To give your tomato sauce extra depth of flavor, my "secret" ingredients are: dry vermouth; vinegar (either wine or balsamic); honey (less if you use balsamic vinegar, which adds some sweetness on its own; and porcini powder. I get porcini powder from Surfas in Los Angeles, but you can make your own by grinding up a few dried porcini in a spice mill or mortar and pestle.

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I'm a fan of Lidia Bastianich's Italian-American cookbook. Used it?

Otherwise, I'd go for the best ingredients you can find. Bufala mozzarella. Parm Reg from someplace like Cowgirl Creamery.

A local bird or Italian breed. Smoked? Grilled?

Home-baked focaccia. Atwater's Country White. Le Pain Quotidien.

Condiments like smokey, slippery peppers sautéed on the grill. Use erba stella from Next Step Produce at the Dupont Circle market.

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Okay, I'll definitely go with the mozzarella di bufala-- that's what we usually use. I'm liking the ciabatta idea too. We usually use scooped out baguettes, but I always thought they were too narrow. I've made porcini powder before and rubbed it on steaks. Perhaps I'll add that to the sauce and maybe saute a bunch of shrooms and serve them on the side if anyone wants to add them to the sandwich. Thanks for the input!

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I think the keys to a great chicken parm are:

Crisp, non-greasy chicken coating with moist chicken inside.

A roll, not sliced bread. I think a bit of a firmer, slightly thicker roll crust is essential for maintaining the integrity of the sandwich. Soft inside.

Good provolone, although mozzdibuff (esp. from blue ridge) would be delicious.

A simple, old school gravy.

Here's a link to Harold Dieterle's chicken parm sandwich. I've never had it, but damn, it looks terrific.

http://www.oprah.com/recipe/food/recipessa...ows_chickenparm

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Okay, I'll definitely go with the mozzarella di bufala-- that's what we usually use. I'm liking the ciabatta idea too. We usually use scooped out baguettes, but I always thought they were too narrow. I've made porcini powder before and rubbed it on steaks. Perhaps I'll add that to the sauce and maybe saute a bunch of shrooms and serve them on the side if anyone wants to add them to the sandwich. Thanks for the input!
A little off topic, but the next time you grind porcinis for putting on steaks, add in a couple of cloves and maybe coriander. The results may surprise you. You can't really taste them, but it really punches up the beef.
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A little off topic, but the next time you grind porcinis for putting on steaks, add in a couple of cloves and maybe coriander. The results may surprise you. You can't really taste them, but it really punches up the beef.

This a recommendation from the book?

BTW, the book is very handy and a good addition to one's collection.

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