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Chicken Parmesan Salad

A lighter, fresh and satisfying take on a classic chicken parm.

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Chicken Parm Salad is one of my favorite weeknight meals. It’s fresh, light, and comforting, full of bright flavors and delicious crunch. Salads aren’t just for a side dish, especially a salad like this one.

When you think of chicken parm, you definitely don’t think “salad.” We all think of breaded and fried chicken, a rich tomato sauce, and melty mozzarella cheese. My version – my salad version – has all three of these ingredients. My light and crispy fried chicken breasts are flavorful, crunchy, and tender, and flavorful.

Chicken breasts are notoriously thicker on one end and thinner on the other. That’s why I like to filet the breasts horizontally; they’re instantly thinner and that means more even and thorough cooking. I also take a quick sec to tenderize the chicken because a tender chicken means juicy chicken. After that, it’s a dip in a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, flour, and Parmesan cheese to give the exterior of the chicken it’s beautiful golden crust.

That takes care of the chicken, now I turn to the tomato and cheese that we expect with a chicken parm. I’m using sweet cherry tomatoes as an homage to the marinara sauce of a usual chicken parm, and for the cheese, I’ve got a beautiful burrata. If you’re not familiar with burrata, now’s a great time to get introduced! This is a very soft mozzarella cheese. It’s a luxurious blob that when cut open releases a gooey cheesy goodness that I pull apart and gloriously toss over the finished salad.

Let’s put this all together! I’ve got some beautiful fresh greens that I’m using here, an artesian blend of lettuce and I’m adding peppery arugula for earthiness and my quick and easy vinegarette made with good olive oil, red wine vinegar, shallots (I love the soft onion flavor), salt and pepper.

To build the salad, I toss the greens with the dressing, scatter in the tomatoes and hunks of burrata cheese, and top it with shaved Parmesan cheese and crispy sourdough croutons. I asked myself at the beginning of all of this: “Will it salad?” The answer is a resounding YES, it will. A lighter, fresh and satisfying take on a classic chicken parm. Enjoy!

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For chicken parm:
  • 4 chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For vinaigrette:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
For the salad:
  • 2 heads artisan mixed greens
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1 burrata ball, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano cheese, shaved
  • 1/3 cup sourdough croutons, torn into pieces
Preparation
  1. Season each side of the chicken breast with salt and pepper, then place onto a parchment lined sheet tray.
  2. Prepare a breading station to fully coat the chicken with one bowl for flour, one bowl for eggs and mustard, then one bowl with Panko and Parmesan.
  3. Dredge the chicken in flour, then into the egg mixture until it’s coated, then firmly press into panko, ensuring even coverage. Place breaded chicken back onto a parchment lined sheet tray.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and pepper flakes to the pot. Let the garlic cook until it starts to turn golden. Be mindful to avoid burning the garlic.
  5. Add in the tomato and basil, let sauce come to a simmer and cook for 10 - 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and turn off heat. Set aside.
  6. In a large rondeau, add vegetable oil and set the heat to medium-high heat. Let oil heat for 1 - 2 minutes.
  7. Gently place breaded chicken into hot oil, careful to not overcrowd or overfill the pan. Let chicken fry until fully golden, around 4 - 6 minutes. The oil should completely cover the chicken.
  8. Remove chicken to a wire rack and lightly season the breaded with Maldon salt.
  9. Cook vinaigrette in a sauté pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook shallots for 3 - 4 minutes.
  10. Add cherry tomatoes to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in olive oil, red wine vinegar and chives. Season for salt and pepper.