Thursday, November 6, 2014

Barefoot Contessa’s Parmesan Chicken topped with Salad Recipe

Parmesan chicken topped with a salad is one of our favorite Ina Garten recipes. Often it’s the recipe I go to when I want a dinner that’s not complicated but guaranteed to be delicious every time.

Recently I received my copy of Ina’s latest cookbook Make It Ahead and already I can tell I’m going to love this book. It’s full of Ina’s normal solid, no nonsense advice and no-fail tasty recipes that we’ve come to expect from her plus they all can be made ahead.

This recipe for Parmesan chicken topped with a green salad could have easily been in her new Make It Ahead book. If you let the chicken rest on a rack in the refrigerator for about half an hour it helps to dry the coating so it won’t steam when sautéing. The vinaigrette for the salad can be made a couple of days ahead and left to chill in the refrigerator. Salad ingredients can be cleaned and assembled in advance, so the only thing left to do at the last minute is to brown the chicken (which does require a bit of attention) and toss the salad.

This chicken recipe is similar to a family favorite I’ve made for years – my father’s unfried chicken here. The only major difference is that this chicken is pounded flat plus there’s Parmesan cheese in the bread crumb coating. My father always added several generous shakes of hot sauce such as Tabasco to his egg mixture for extra flavor and I like to do the same. I've used our house vinaigrette because it's very similar to Ina's lemon vinaigrette minus the shallots. Spring mix is my favorite combination of greens, but as you’ll notice in the photos, some of the darker lettuces don’t photograph well. Next time for appearance sake if I were photographing the salad, I would use all light green lettuces.

The charm of this dish is the cold crispy salad greens atop hot “fried” chicken. If you are a fried chicken lover, I know you’ll really like this sophisticated version sautéed in good butter and quality olive oil. Here, why don’t you have a bite?

Parmesan Chicken with Salad
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten – serves 6
Printable Recipe

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
A few good dashes of hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 ¼ cups seasoned dry bread Italian style bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Meslun salad greens for 6
About 6 small handfuls of grape tomato halves for color, optional
My Carolina Kitchen’s French vinaigrette (recipe below)

Sprinkle two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap with a few drops of water to keep them from tearing. Pound the chicken breasts between wax paper or plastic wrap until they are ¼ inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper on a sheet of wax paper. In a bowl, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and a few good dashes of hot sauce. On another sheet of wax paper, combine the bread crumbs and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Coat the chicken breast on both sides with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, dip both sides into the egg mixture, then dredge both sides in the bread-crumb cheese mixture, pressing lightly. Place breaded chicken on a rack on a sheet pan and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to help dry the coating so it won’t steam when sautéing.

While the chicken is chilling, chill a bowl for the salad, make the vinaigrette and store in the refrigerator. If you like, the vinaigrette can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Heat 2 tablespoon of butters and 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts, taking care not to crowd the pan, on medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through, taking care not to let the cheese burn. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. You may wish to do the chicken in batches. The chicken breasts can be kept warm for about 15 minutes on a sheet pan in a 200-degree oven or your warming drawer.

At the last minute toss the salad greens in the chilled bowl with vinaigrette and optional grape tomato halves. Place a chicken breast on each plate, sprinkle with a little sea salt, mound salad greens on top of the hot chicken, add a few more grains of sea salt to the salad and serve right away. Pass extra grated parmesan at the table if desired.

My Carolina Kitchen’s French Vinaigrette
Serves 6

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), or limes or red wine vinegar also work well
9 tablespoons good olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Couple of dashes of hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Maldon sea salt, or other good sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well.  Can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator and also saves well for several days. Easily doubled or tripled.

Cook’s note: The mustard is used to emulsify the vinaigrette and to keep it from separating. The hot sauce brings added flavor and is highly recommended.

For better viewing, click on photos to enlarge.

Thank each of you for the kind comments last week and your support of My Carolina Kitchen for the past six years. The winner of last week’s giveaway,
Little Paris Cookbook, is Kaye Barley. Congratulations Kaye. Please email me your address and I’ll get the book right off to you right away.

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, eekend Bites at Simple Recipes, & Food on Friday at Carole's Chatter.    
Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. That looks great Sam, I know I'd love! It's a very pretty presentation too:@)

  2. I haven't tried In as..but I have made a similar one from Skinnytaste and it has turned out to be a favorite.
    Will try this one too.

  3. This is a favorite of ours as well no matter the season. Ina's latest is beside my favorite chair. It is a winner


  4. A wonderful dish! That chicken looks so mouthwatering.



  5. I love this recipe of hers and have made it several times. Yours looks wonderful!

  6. hard to go wrong with an Ina recipe and this one sounds and looks delicious - love the bite shot. Your Vinaigrette recipe also sounds very good.

  7. Sam, This is my kind of dinner, especially since it's relatively low on carbs, provides lots of protein and some healthy salad. I could eat this meal at least once a week for quite awhile. Of course, I'd add more Tabasco to my chicken before eating it as Tabasco is a basic food in my diet. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  8. Dear Sam, One of my favorite meals!! Blessings dear, Catherine xo

  9. Ina Garten is my good luck charm of cookbook authors. I've made this recipe a few times, only I use panko crumbs for extra crunch. You are so right, in that it's a perfect make ahead meal. My guests were so impressed with the presentation, and I let them think I worked hard on that dinner. I also ordered Ina's newest book, and have bookmarked a whole bunch of her recipes! You've inspired me to make this again, because it's a winner.

  10. That's a Dolly Parton sized chicken breast! It's as big as the plate once flattened out, holy smokes :)

  11. The chicken looks so crisp yet so tender and juicy. A great meal, Sam.

  12. This is my kind of meal, Sam. Your chicken looks perfectly done and the vinaigrette sounds perfect. I have to try this!

  13. Congratulations to Kaye, you lucky girl. The chicken looks good, I need to go check out Ina's new book. I have most of her books and have never been disappointed.

  14. This is one of our favorite go-to recipes and we have it often. With salad greens and vinaigrette in the summer and with rice pilaf with veggies in winter.

  15. Hi Sam, hope you add this one to Food on FRiday! Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  16. Absolutely Carolyn. I really must try this dish. The beauty is I have everything I need, I just need to unthaw the chicken.

  17. I'll be making this one Sam. Looks delicious. And great tip about letting the chicken set in the fridge. Ina is going to be in Denver for a signing, I'm going to try and get tickets.

  18. Sam, the chicken looks crisp and very juicy…perfect.

  19. I make this all the time when I need a quickie for dinner. I don't even use a recipe anymore. When I am lazy and don't want to fry I dip them in melted butter and pass them through the breadcrumbs and straight into the oven in a baking sheet. I must go back to making the vinaigrette, yours looks delicious..

  20. I love simple but fabulous dinners like this. It looks wonderful!

  21. Hi Sam, love Ina's recipes they always turn out and are always delicious!!!!

  22. What a marvelous dinner, Sam. Lovely browned chicken and the crisp salad on top...perfect. I pinned it to our Ina Board.

  23. I have never been disappointed with any of Ina Garten's recipes! Your vinaigrette sounds perfect as the dressing, Sam. Congrats, again, to your winner and on 6 years of blogging!

  24. This is one of my favorite Ina dishes too. As a matter of fact, I just got chicken breasts to make it this week. We are trying to eat more salads and this chicken goes so well with salad. A little bit healthy, a little bit decadent.

  25. i have always seen this recipe of hers and wondered if it was good. I think yours turned out spectacular. It looks moist and perfectly crispy. A winner in my book and that salad is always a must

  26. Hello Sam, It is dinner time here and I have no plan. This dish would be delightful and I'm afraid I would take more than a bite! He Hee.
    Love that this can be made ahead.
    Thanks for your delightful comment today and I loved reading about your advent..Cheers Helenx

  27. Great recipe, Sam! Ina's recipes are great and so is her new cookbook. And your French vinaigrette sounds really good for the dish. I am drooling over it all! Have a good week!

  28. This is my idea of a perfect meal. I saw Ina's new book and thought it was full of great recipes. It's on my Christmas list.

  29. Not a recipe I have tried but it sounds great and I will be trying it out very soon Thanks Take care Diane

  30. This has been a mainstay at our home for many years. It is one of the first recipes the kids asked for after they moved out. And happily - for busy 20-something students - it is so wonderful easy! This also is perfect for our low-carb eating days. The salad atop the chicken just gives the dish its splash of color (welcome in November).

  31. Good Morning Sam,
    I am having a second cup of coffee and would be so happy if I could have a serving of your delicious Parmesan Chicken, I love this recipe! Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing this awesome post with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  32. I put this over 1/2 Baby Spinach & 1/2 Arugula and her Lemon Vinaigrette. This has now bumped my Wife's Chicken Fried Steak as my preferred Birthday Dinner. & my teenaged+ boys choose this also.


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