Make your own chicken parmo at home
Let’s get one thing straight. A formed chicken escalope, topped with cheese is NOT a parmo. What’s more, if a recipe uses tomato sauce instead of bechamel, then it’s not a parmo either. It’s a parmigiana, parm, parmi or parma (depending on whether it’s Italian, American or Australian).
Parmos can be made with any flattened meat fillet (or vegetarian substitute). Pork is seen as the traditional option on Teesside but most people these days seem to prefer chicken. The meat is flattened and breadcrumbed to make a schnitzel which is then cooked and topped with a layer of bechamel sauce and then melted cheese.
At the moment it’s hugely important that people socially distance. So where possible, please use whatever ingredients you have to hand. This recipe is just a guide and you can make your own changes. Want to add some celery salt or nutmeg to the bechamel? Go for it. Some freshly grated Parmesan? Hell yeah. It’s all about maximising the umami and getting flavour into the dish.
Ingredients (Serves 4 Teessiders or 6-8 regular people)
4 x chicken fillets (approx 200g each)
Plain flour (for dredging)
1 egg + a splash of milk (for dredging)
Panko or any natural breadcrumbs
Sunflower/rapeseed oil (for frying)
200g Mature Red Leicester or coloured Cheddar (grated)
For the béchamel (you should have some left over = win)
55g plain flour
1 pint (568ml) milk
Salt, pepper and other seasonings
Make sure you take the meat out of the fridge and allow it to reach room temperature (at least half an hour). Then start by making the bechamel:
- Melt 55g butter in a saucepan
- Gradually sift in 55g of flour over a medium heat, stirring constantly
- Once the flour is all added, the mixture should resemble a thick paste and should come away from the sides of the pan as you stir
- Cook like this over a medium heat for a couple of minutes
- Gradually add the milk, incorporating a little at a time, while stirring. Whisk if lumps form after all the milk has been added
- Cook for another 10-12 mins, constantly stirring. The sauce should reach the ribbon stage. Season to taste
- Put it to one side and cover surface of sauce with baking parchment or cling film to avoid a skin forming
Now for the meat:
- Remove any excess fat and butterfly the chicken
- Place on a chopping board under a sheet of cling film/parchment
- Bash out each fillet with a tenderising mallet (or rolling pin), to an even thickness
- Dredge the meat – first into the flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs. Ensure that the coating is even all over then set aside
- Add sunflower/rapeseed oil to a large frying pan to a depth of roughly 1cm and heat. Once the oil reaches its optimal temperature, cook the fillets (one at a time) for approximately 2 minutes on each side, till the breadcrumbs have turned golden
- Place the fillets into a preheated oven at 180C for 8-10 minutes to finish them off. Check the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle (75C minimum internal temp.)
- Cover the fillets with a generous layer of bechamel sauce
- Sprinkle on the grated cheese and place back in the oven or under a grill till it’s melted
- Season and serve with chips and salad or slaw.
Parmos are best accompanied by garlic or chilli sauce. Ketchup is often frowned upon (but it’s okay by me).
If you want to try a parmo but all this seems like too much work, keep an eye out for ParmStar. In 2015 we took the parmo national, popping up at street food events and festivals up and down the country. In 2018, our parmo plate won Best Main Dish at the British Street Food Awards, judged by a panel of top chefs. We are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as @ParmStarUK.