You’re probably familiar with chicken parmesan, also known as chicken parm in the United States or just parmi or parma in Australia. How much do you really know about this delicious Italian treat, though, other than the fact that it’s a breaded chicken breast covered in a tomato-based sauce and cheese? Maybe you know that there’s also an eggplant parmesan and veal parmesan, but there’s so much more to this dish.
Let’s begin with the origins of the dish. Parmigiana, also known as parmigiana di melanzane or melanzane alla parmigiana, is an Italian dish made with an eggplant filling as the earliest and still unique Italian rendition. Some variations of parmigiana do use chicken, veal, or some other type of meat cutlet or vegetable filling, though. It is claimed by both the Southern regions of Campania and Sicily, as well as by the Northern province of Parma, so the origins of the dish are quite uncertain.
Traditional parmigiana is made with a shallow or deep-fried eggplant filling, layered with cheese and tomato sauce, and then baked. Sometimes, the sliced filling is dipped in eggs first, then dredged in flour or breadcrumbs before frying. Many recipes call for parmesan cheese (Parmigiana), but others use a softer melting cheese like mozzarella. Still, other recipes use a combination of hard grated cheeses and soft melted cheese.
I’m going to use top quality, aged, Parmigiana and serve with a creamy white wine sauce. Let’s get started.