Food & Drink

Coast Cooking: Eggplant or chicken Parmesan? It’s all good

By JULIAN BRUNT

Special to the Sun Herald

Chicken Parmesan.
Chicken Parmesan.

Eggplant Parmesan and chicken Parmesan may be at the top of the list of Italian-inspired comfort dishes.

Think pasta al forno without the pasta. It is eggplant or chicken, a good red sauce, and lots of cheese, baked in a ramekin until bubbly and delicious.

I suppose you could use other ingredients, such as zucchini, but chicken and eggplant are so good, why bother?

Use the best ingredients. A boneless chicken thigh is always superior to a dry breast, a good red sauce is essential, a long-cooked ragu, not the fresh tomato sauce you should be making in the summer time. But most importantly, is the quality of the cheese. If you use an inferior, non-Italian knock-off Parmigiano Reggiano you will be doomed. There is nothing wrong with adding some buffalo mozzarella if you like, or another good melting cheese, but now is definitely not the time to skimp.

Sauté the chicken or eggplant until just done. Place in a ramekin or other oven-proof container. Top with sauce and lots of cheese. Bake in a very quick oven (425-450 f) until bubbly and well-browned. Let sit a few minutes, but serve piping hot.

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