Parmesan, Asiago and Herb Crusted Chicken

I had the evening to myself last night. The girl is still at her dad’s, the youngest boy at his mom’s and the middle boy was at work. The fireman was at work, too. When the girl and I have nights alone, often we make spaghetti. It’s our go to meal. We love it.

I’m trying to lose a pesky few pounds, so I didn’t want to load up on carbs. I figured I’d make burgers or chicken breasts and cover with my favorite marinara sauce, which happens to be Ragu’s Roasted Garlic. That Roasted Garlic flavor just makes it absolutely fanfreakingtastic. For realz.

I thought Chicken Parmesan with breaded chicken breasts sounded wonderful, but again with the breading and carbs. So, I thought I’d try a cheese and herb crust. This is what I came up with.

I stopped by the store and bought some good cheese, man I love cheese and some chicken breasts. Then, I went home, did my daily routine with a quick clean up, short exercise and went ahead and showered. Then, I put a book on cd on the radio and got to work.

I combined parmesan cheese and asiago cheese, freshly grated. You could use all parmesan cheese, and the shaker kind if you wanted, the flavor just wouldn’t be as intense. Then, I added garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Parsley, salt and pepper.

I lightly whipped an egg white, just so that the crust had something to stick to, something with more substance than just the chicken themselves. I was hoping that it’d add to the crust.

I cut the chicken breasts in half width-wise. I love doing this, it cuts the cooking time down, thereby decreasing the ‘drying out’ risk. You could also pound it flat. I also cut the chicken breasts in half length-wise, the ones that were large, anyway. I like smaller portions. I think they fry up easier and are easier to portion out.

Get your skillet hot to about medium – medium high and add just a tablespoon of oil or so, swirling it around the pan. We don’t need a whole lot of oil. Make sure your oil is nice and hot before you add the chicken or it’ll be very greasy.

After dipping the chicken in the egg white, let extra drip off for a second before laying it in your breading. Press down to adhere as much cheese as possible and flip a couple of times to coat well.

Gently lay into the hot pan.  Important *DO NOT MOVE AROUND* for a while. Let it sit for a good 2-3 minutes before you even attempt to flip it. As long as your oil isn’t too hot, you should let it sit for 7-8 minutes on each side. When you go to flip it, get a nice sharp turner and slide it under firmly scraping the bottom so that you don’t lose any of your breading.

After it’s cooked on both sides for 7-8 minutes, go ahead and cut into one of the thicker breasts to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Be careful not to mess with flipping/moving too much or you’ll lose your crust. The juices should be clear in the center of the chicken to verify doneness.

I guarantee, not all of them looked this perfect, so don’t worry if they don’t all come out beautifully. They’ll still taste delicious.  I laid mine on a piece of paper towel for a minute and patted the top, just to take off any additional oil. I was happy to find that they weren’t that oily at all.

To serve, heat up your favorite marinara sauce, pour over the chicken breasts and top with freshly grated parmesan and asiago cheese.

You really have no idea how good this was. I was shocked. Seriously. It was rich and flavorful.

I moaned.

And sent a picture to the fireman to tease him.

His response? “Does that taste as good as it looks?”

I said, “Oh, Yeah.”

I think I’ll be making it again soon.

I sat back, and relaxed eating it slowly, with a glass of cabernet sauvignon. It was amazing.

This girl really knows how to enjoy an evening alone. *sigh*

The Recipe:

Parmesan, Asiago and Herb Crusted Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 Tbl olive oil
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated asiago cheese
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg white
2 cups favorite marinara sauce
Slice chicken breasts in half width-wise. Mix the cheeses, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, whip up the egg white until slightly foamy. Heat a skillet to medium-high and add oil. When oil is hot, dip chicken in egg white, then press into cheese breading, flip and press, then add to oil. Repeat with remaining chicken. Cook on each side 7-8 minutes, or until done. Do not flip chicken for the first few minutes to keep the breading from coming off. Flip and move the chicken around as little as possible.
Drain on paper towels if you wish. To serve, top with hot marinara sauce and freshly grated parmesan and asiago cheese.

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