Extraordinary is the best description for this Smokey Buttermilk Chicken Parmigiana. The flavor mash-up will leave your palate intoxicated. The chicken breasts were first marinated in a seasoned buttermilk, which adds texture and tenderization to the meat. The coupling of Kelloggs corn flakes and crackers gave the breading a Panko style breadcrumb texture. Fresh onions, tomatoes and basil takes the flavor of an ordinary chicken parmigiana to a new level of complexity. The simplicity of the rich tomato flavor of marinara sauce adds even more brightness to this dish. Using a combination of fresh smoked and original flavored mozzarella cheeses topped off with freshly grated parmesan cheese makes this recipe very scrumptious. What’s more, this recipe calls for six pieces of just under half-pound chicken breasts that perhaps, depending on how much your eaters eat, can make for up to two servings each for six people. Use the left overs to make a chicken parmigiana sandwich.
When I first tested this recipe, I had added too many layers of tomatoes and onions. The chicken breast was the thin cut – while the dish was the same deliciousness as this new recipe – the chicken was overcooked (chewy) and the vegetables did not have the right texture. I’ve since cut the layers in half and found the dish now has the best combination of cheesiness and freshness of the vegetables and the thicker cut chicken breast remained moist. This is a very flexible recipe so feel free to use whatever breadcrumb you like as well as you can use regular mozzarella cheese. This recipe also works well with smoked paprika (use only if you are using regular mozzarella cheese). Enjoy.
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Smokey Buttermilk Chicken Parmigiana
This an amazing gourmet chicken parmigiana fit for any holiday celebration or for perking up a special midweek or weekend dinner.
- 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless organic chicken breast (6 pieces about 1/2 inch thickness)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 cups Kelloggs Corn Flakes
- 1 cup original saltine crackers (with no extra salt topping)
- extra virgin olive oil for frying the chicken
CHEESES AND LAYERING:
- 42 ounces marinara sauce
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese sliced – about 16 slices
- 1 pound fresh smoked mozzarella cheese sliced – about 16 slices
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 vine ripen tomatoes sliced into three circles each
- 1 extra large onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
MARINATE THE CHICKEN:
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Flatten the chicken breasts to approximately 1/4 inch thickness.
Note: Use a meat mallet or rolling pin. Place chicken, one piece at a time, between plastic wrap. Use the mallet or rolling pin and pound the chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness. This process adds tenderness to the breast and evens out the thickness.
In a large bowl, add the buttermilk and all of the marinating ingredients. Mix to combine Add the chicken breasts and coat thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Marinate for at least 2 hours or can be marinated overnight.
Note: Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking.
BREADING THE CHICKEN:
Preheat the oven 375 degrees.
In a food processor, add the corn flakes and crackers. Pulse until it resembles Panko breadcrumbs.
Note: The corn flakes, cracker crumbs add a lot of flavor and the chicken is not overly breaded. You can use regular flour or Panko breadcrumbs, however.
Place the cornflake-cracker crumbs in a bowl or plate. Over medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan – coat the pan with the oil. While the oil is heating, shake off excess buttermilk from the chicken breasts – bread the chicken breasts 3 pieces at a time. Fry the 3 pieces of chicken on both sides until lightly brown – about two minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the frying pan – add more oil to the pan, if needed, and brown the remaining chicken breasts.
Note: Do not overcrowd the frying pan – if using a smaller frying pan you might only be able to do 2 pieces at a time. I used a non-stick frying pan.
LAYERING THE CHICKEN:
In a deep lasagna style baking pan, spread about 2 ladles of the marinara sauce.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the sliced onions on the sauce. Place the 6 slices of tomatoes on the onions, evenly spaced. Add 1 slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each tomato – you can alternate using the smoked and regular mozzarella.
Place one piece of chicken on top of each of the cheese. Add one piece of mozzarella on top of each chicken breast – alternate the smoked and regular mozzarella.
Sprinkle the fresh whole basil leaves on the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining sliced onions and top with marinara sauce.
Top off the sauce with the remaining mozzarella cheeses. Dabble any remaining sauce on top of the mozzarella. Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake 40 minutes, until bubbly. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy.