How to Make Ina’s Favorite Weeknight Meal

"I don’ t think there’s any dish I’ve made more. Everybody loves this."

If you’re looking for an easy, weeknight meal that will satisfy the pickiest palates, look no further than Ina’s Parmesan Chicken. She’s made the dish on previous episodes of Barefoot Contessa and wrote about it this week on her Instagram page:

“If I had to choose my all-time go-to dinner (besides roast chicken!!) it would definitely be my Parmesan Chicken! It’s a whole dinner on one plate - juicy, herb-breaded chicken with a cold lemony salad and shaved Parmesan on top. And the whole thing takes 30 minutes to prepare!”

Ina’s secret for infusing great flavor into this simple, pan-fried chicken is good Parmesan. “There’s only one real Parmesan cheese,” says Ina, “and it’s called Parmesan Reggiano ... It has a protective seal of approval, so you know it’s the real deal. The more aged it is, the more depth of flavor it has.” She grinds it herself in the food processor and adds copious amount of it to the breadcrumbs. “I prefer to grind my own. It’s fresher and there’s a better texture to it.” If real Parmesan is a little too expensive she recommends Grana Padano. “It still has that sharp flavor,” she says.

To prepare the chicken, she lays it flat between plastic wrap and pounds it with a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness. Make sure it’s even so that it cooks evenly, advises Ina. The chicken is dipped in flour, then egg and finally coated in the cheesy breadcrumbs. She sautés the coated chicken in a combination of butter and olive oil until golden brown and crispy.

She tops the chicken with a simple salad of fresh arugula and a tangy, homemade lemon vinaigrette. “The hot chicken and the cold salad is a great combination,” says Ina. The crowning touch is curls of Parmesan that she shaves on top with a vegetable peeler, “You can never have too much Parmesan,” she says. True dat.

A new season of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro premieres April 21.

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