Chicken Parmesan; the dish to destroy your kitchen
A long and arduous journey that is as enlightening as it is gutting.
There are those out there who consider the chicken parmigiana the yardstick for which to measure any pub's worth. Personally, I have my own preference for the chicken schnitzel topped with Dianne sauce - but to each their own. I don't judge, at least not with any perceptible audible noises.
I won't go into details as to what the recipe is for this dish, as it is a process so annoying, tedious and disgusting that I fear that providing instructions is to provide a list on how to bring Satan to this plane of existence. Not that the food is awful - quite the contrary.
It's just annoying to make.
Basically, I followed this instruction from the Food Wishes channel on YouTube, so if you want to watch an expert prep this meal, watch this instead.
For details on how the layman makes this dish, and destroys their home, read on.
A kitchen can start pristine, reminiscent of a catalogue photo, with clear benches and glistening sinks, but by the end of the process, the mess will make the occupant of the sludgiest pig sty think you've gone just a bit overboard.
Take the schnitzel's preparation, for example. First you get the requisite number of chicken breasts and you pound them down into a thickness that is easily cookable. Did you remember to cover the chicken with plastic before tamping them down? If not, then congratulations on contaminating your mallet or tenderiser. Into the sink for washing.
Sink count: 1 x chicken-smeared tenderiser.
Now to crumb the schnitzel. To do this, you'll perform the wet/dry method, in that the dry application is done with one hand, and the wet is done with the other hand. After dusting each breast with flour, get two bowls and put whisked eggs in one, and Panko breadcrumbs in the other. Steel yourself for a few seconds, knowing that you've only just started.
Despite all efforts made to keep the dry and wet segments of preparation in separate hands, you will ultimately end up making this doughy, breadcrumby rubbish on the tips of your fingers, which does find a way to spread over the benchtops, along with a thin layer of flour. Place the prepped schnitzels onto a plate, and put into the fridge before throwing the bowls into the sink and questioning the validity of life.
Sink count: 1 x chicken smeared tenderiser, 2 x bowls of raw, half-used junk.
Start work on the tomato sauce. Get out a pot and put it on the stove, sweating out some finely chopped celery, onion and garlic. Grimace, because you realise you hadn't washed the cutting board from the earlier chicken-tenderising process, and have chopped your ingredients in uncut salmonella. Facepalm yourself briefly, but proceed anyway. The heat in the pot should surely kill off the bacteria, right? RIGHT?
Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and marvel at the splat-marks you create on the wall behind the stove. Add a tablespoon of vinegar and sugar for reasons that probably involve complex science, but understand you're only following a YouTube video, and are only doing as you're told. You sterling chef, you.
Cook sauce for about half an hour, but consistently worry about it being too watery. Put aside and prepare to fry the schnitzels. Sigh as you look at the pot, knowing the scrubbing you have to do later to remove any burned portions from the wall of the pot, while laughingly calling the black crust "side fond".
Sink count: 1 x chicken smeared tenderiser, 2 x bowls of raw, half-used junk, 1 x pot of scorched tomato remains.
Heat the skillet with an oil of your choosing and place schnitzels in. Recoil as the oil starts to spatter wildly, creating a layer of speckled slime over the top of your stove. Tentatively approach the skillet after the burning sensation on your hands has stopped and turn the schnitzel over. Swear quietly as the crumbing tears away from the chicken.
Finish cooking the schnitzel and place onto a plate. Turn back to the skillet of oil and burned breadcrumbs and wonder how you're gonna dispose of the mess. Vow to pour the oil out in the garden that harms as few things as possible, while assuring your partner that it was disposed "safely".
Prepare your cheese in a bowl with various kinds of cheese. Swirl the stiff cheese together, taking a moment to kiss the swole bicep you're building up with your workout. Smear cheese over schnitzels and place onto baking paper-lined tray. Curse that you hadn't started pre-heating your oven earlier.
Once pre-heated, place schnitzels into oven and wait for cheese to melt nicely. Review the mess of flour on the bench, the oil on top of the stove, and the pile of scrap in the sink, thinking that now would be a good time to start some preliminary cleaning. Retreat instead to fridge and fetch bottle of wine. Go to cupboard and get straw.
Try to remember that you have schnitzels in the oven. Wine can affect you adversely, in terms of memory. Wake up later and retrieve schnitzels from oven and place onto a plate, alongside whatever tomato sauce you could salvage from the burned wreck from earlier. Add tray and sauce pot to sink.
Sink count: 1 x chicken smeared tenderiser, 2 x bowls of raw, half-used junk, 1 x pot of scorched tomatoes, 1 x tray of burned breadcrumbs.
Then you think to yourself that a side of chips (fries) would also work well, and then start peeling some potatoes. Look back at the bottle of wine, the straw jutting out from its throat mocking you as it sits next to your couch, blaming it for this stupid idea, and possibly many other poor decisions you've made over your life.
You've made enough mess with frying the schnitzels, so - in for a penny, in for a pound - might as well fry up some chips too. After-dinner activity is going to be limited to cleaning up the mess, so if you're gonna destroy your kitchen, might as well do it *properly*. Be sure to document every emotion you've felt during the cooking process, because it'll probably be important to remember this informatoin before you think about embarking on a journey like this again.
Final sink count: 1 x chicken smeared tenderiser, 2 x bowls of raw, half-used junk, 1 x pot of scorched tomatoes, 1 x tray of burned breadcrumbs and one plate used for chips creation.
So, there is my Chicken Parmesan/Parmigiana adventure. A hateful little dish that is an absolute pain. After making this, I have a dream that I can one day hopefully regrow my soul back. Do I recommend this? Well, let's just say that I would likely prefer to make my own schnitzel with Dianne sauce - and that requires boiling down bones over 18 hours to make demi-glace.
Or, I could just go to the pub and rate theirs.