In Search of Chicken Parmigiana in New Jersey?

Nothing screams Italian-American food like Chicken Parmigiana and at Sanzari’s New Bridge Inn, some nights we can’t even keep up with the orders… but it may shock you learn that Chicken Parmigiana is not really a traditional Italian dish.

In fact, many food historians suspect that Chicken Parmigiana is actually an international variation of an old traditional Sicilian recipe called “Parmigiana di Melanzane,” which refers to a fried and then baked eggplant dish.  The story goes that Sicilians would dip slices of eggplant in a thin layer of beaten egg, bread and fry them, top them with slices of parmesan cheese and home-made tomato sauce before finally baking them in the oven. Food historian have found writings that describe this method of cooking that are over two hundred years old!

The word “Parmigiana” technically means “from Parma,” but the town of Parma is actually in Northern Italy and is, in fact, nowhere near Sicily!  Also, “Parmigiana” has nothing to do with the “Parmesan” cheese sometimes used to make the dish.  Somewhere along the line, Italian-American immigrants in places like New Jersey, New York and Toronto started making their own version of the dish using breaded chicken cutlets, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.  As you can see, it is no wonder that the origins of Chicken Parmigiana have been widely debated among Italian-Americans from all over the country!  In fact, there are many dishes that we enjoy in the United States that just cannot be found in Italy!

There is one thing we certain of though; and that’s where you can get the best Chicken Parmigiana in North Jersey!  And that’s right here at Sanzari’s New Bridge Inn!

What’s that?  You can’t make it to our famous little Italian Restaurant in Bergen County?  Don’t sweat it!  You can make Sanzari’s Chicken Parmigiana at home!

Here is our Best Chicken Parmigiana in New Jersey Recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (not the fake stuff)
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 8 chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups your favorite tomato sauce, with extra if serving over pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, fresh is ok, but shredded or deli sliced melts better, cut into thick slices

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven broiler. Set up three shallow bowls or pie plates next to stovetop.  In first bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, thyme and Parmesan in a shallow bowl.  In second bowl scramble two eggs.  In third bowl, add pinch of salt and pepper to flour.  Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in the flour, then beaten egg, and then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat both sides evenly.
  2. Spread half of tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. Heat 4-6 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 4 breaded chicken cutlets in skillet; cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Using a spatula, transfer browned cutlets to baking dish, placing them on top of sauce. Repeat with remaining oil and cutlets.
  3. Top each cutlet with a heaping tablespoon of tomato sauce and slice of mozzarella. Broil about 4 inches from heat source until sauce is hot and cheese is melted and lightly browned in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately over perfectly cooked spaghetti and your favorite tomato sauce.

Hope you enjoy it!  And if you don’t feel like cooking at home, you can always visit us!  Use the link below to make your reservations.