What comes to mind when you think of chicken parmigiana? The crispy, buttery, breading-coated chicken cutlet, adorned with drool-inspiring fresh mozzarella cheese topped with marinara sauce and draped in basil. *wipes drool from face*.
This version is a modernized and healthier twist on the classic Chick Parm. It doesn’t have breadcrumbs, it does use loads of butter and avocado oil, and fresh made “summer sauce” like my mom used to make. It starts with the tomatoes. I always choose fresh, organic Roma tomatoes to stew down in some oil and garlic, to bring the aromas to life. They stew for at least an hour to allow for the skins to break away from the meat of the tomato. I like to add in some chopped basil towards the end of the simmering tomatoes as it adds beautiful aromas and color, as well as basil tastes great so why not? After a solid 40 minutes of the tomatoes simmering, the skins should be pretty much pulled back and will look like a “sauce” – this is what you want! This will layer on top of the chicken and mozzarella too.
What I love about using cassava flour is that it is ground yucca root and while it is a bit carb-y, it’s still paleo friendly and digests quicker than other flours and obviously better than using breadcrumbs. I will always love a good cutlet, but cassava flour really makes the chicken ultra juicy and tender. My preferred brand of cassava is Otto’s Cassava Flour: I just find it to be super milled and light, it has a very mild taste as well and I like to put the flour in a large mason jar with some dried oregano, rosemary, and parsley to add the “italiano” flavorings (Thank you to my incredible friend and mentor Andrea aka The Enlightened Culinist for showing me how this is done.
*sidenote, if you really want to be uber inspired I recommend going over to her instagram account @theenlightenedculinist for incredible food and her journey*
Battering the chicken with this flour could not be easier as you just filet the breasts (I tend to use Bell and Evan’s organic chicken breasts and filet them to make two from one) and then place them in the flour on a plate. Let them absorb the flour as much as possible and let them sit for a few minutes. I usually cut the mozzarella at this time so that once the chicken is done cooking, I can layer the cheese on top and allow it to slowly melt on the chicken, hence the “parmigiana” of the dish.
After the chicken is done, assemble the parm! First, lay the mozz down, then ladle a generous amount of the summer sauce on top of the chicken. You can pair this with sautéed zucchini (as pictured) roasted broccoli, cauliflower, pasta even! I love this dish as it’s so versatile and is done rather quickly. I’m ready for dinner now…bon appetit!
Cassava Flour Chicken Parmigiana
- 2 lbs organic chicken breast
- 1/2 c cassava flour I like Otto's Cassava Flour --> found on Amazon
- 1 ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese - sliced
- 3 tbsp butter more if needed for frying
- 6-8 organic Roma tomatoes - sliced in four
- 4 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic - sliced
- Basil - handful
Pour oil of choice into a deep frying pan. Turn heat onto medium to let oil heat up. Slice tomatoes into four (oblong shape) and place tomatoes in the pan. Stir tomatoes around until they're nice and coated with oil. Cover and let sit on a medium low flame for 20 minutes. Peel and slice up three cloves of garlic and add the garlic after the tomatoes stew for 20 minutes. Chop and add the basil.
Rinse and filet the chicken breasts so that they are thin. Trim the fat off the breasts. Season the chicken with a generous amount of salt and pepper (I use pink himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked pepper). Pour the cassava flour onto a plate and gently place the chicken breasts one by one into the flour. Turn the chicken over and repeat to other side. Place on separate plate or at one side of the flour plate. Let sit.
Stir and "smash" the tomatoes so they become soft and more like a sauce, the skins should be off the tomatoes at this time. Let sit for another 20minutes and stir occasionally to ensure it does not burn. Add salt if desired.
In a medium fry pan, add the butter and melt over a medium heat. Add two pieces of chicken at a time, 7-8 minutes on each side (you want the chicken to really resemble 'breadcrumbs' so the chicken being a little dark is totally fine.). Repeat for the remaining chicken and place on a dish. Add the sliced mozzarella (one slice per chicken) so it begins to soften.
Ladle the tomato sauce on top of the chicken and serve with your favorite veggie or pasta. Add a little extra basil for garnish if desired. Enjoy!
I tend to eyeball with measurements so if you need more oil, add more. If you need more butter for frying the chicken, do it.