Sunday, March 4, 2012

Parmesan Chicken with Roasted Romaine Hearts

I never once had a doubt about this chicken.  What was there to worry about?  Chicken baked with a Parmesan Panko crust?  Yes please.  And so what if it called for fresh parsley?  What else do I have a spice cabinet full of bottles for if not to avoid having to use not so yummy stuff like parsley?  This chicken, as far as I was concerned was going to be good - easy, peasy, lemon squeezey.  (What a truly horrible phrase...)

As not to be too much of a tease, I will start right off by saying, I was right.  It was terribly delicious.  A simple sub-in of 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence and bam.  Exactly what I expected.  What I did not expect was to be so utterly enthralled by the player occupying the other half of my cookie sheet.

 I was very close to not even bothering with the roasted romaine.  I was pretty sure it would be strange and weird and something I would end up eating simply to not waste food.  But then I remembered the whole "try new things!  blog!"  thing I've been trying to pull off for almost a year now, and decided to go for it.  (I did chicken out on the chopped anchovy toppings.  One hurdle at a time...)

And it was good.  Crunchy, flavorful, so simple to make.  Even after heating up my leftovers the next day for lunch, a task I was sure would yield soggy lettuce leaves amidst my chicken and potatoes, I remained pleasantly surprised.  It still had some crisp, some crunch to it.  It was shockingly exciting.  I never would have guessed that throwing romaine hearts in the oven would get me so excited, so pumped, but here we are.  I have gone and spent the majority of this post raving about lettuce.  Who would have known?

 The star of this dish is really the Parmesan chicken, but there was never really any doubt about that.  And even if it's not brimming with originality, it is still very good.  Which might just make it the perfect partner for an exciting new discovery like roasted romaine....

Parmesan Chicken with Roasted Romaine Hearts
Adapted from Bon Appetit March 2012

My grocery store had skinless chicken breasts on sale cheap, but they were not boneless.  A fact I did not discover until I was home and about ready to pat some topping on them.  They worked, but required additional cooking time.  Boneless would work much better and would probably let you eat leftovers at work a bit more civilized.  I listed BA's cooking time, because mine was thrown off by the bone-in breasts.  If you don't have herbs de Provence, any dried spice would do nicely... rosemary, oregano, whatever you got hanging out in your spice cabinet.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to season
1 1/2 oz (~1/2 c.) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp. herbs de Provence
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 large romaine hearts

Preheat oven to 450.  Line large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Season chicken breasts thoroughly on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place on baking sheet.

In small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, panko, 2 tablespoons olive oil, herbs and 1 garlic cloves.  Mix to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.  Pat mixture onto top side of chicken breasts.  Put chicken in oven and bake until topping begins to turn golden, about 10 minutes.

Halve romaine hearts length wise.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle evenly with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle with remaining clove of minced garlic.  Remove chicken from oven (once breadcrumb mixture has turned golden).  Add romaine halves to sheet and return to oven.  Continue to roast until chicken is thoroughly cooked and romaine had browned around the edges, about 5 minutes more.  Enjoy!

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