Introduction: CHICKEN FONTINA
This might look like what is popularly referred to as "Chicken Parmesan," (or "Chicken Parmigiana" in Italian), but it's not. Instead of using Parmesan cheese, I used Fontina . . . similar, but slightly richer than Mozzarella. After being coated in a mixture of gluten-free flour, egg, and coarse yellow cornmeal, a tender chicken thigh is fried crisp, then covered with slices of red ripe Roma Tomatoes, Fontina cheese, and a few spoonfuls of a rich marinara sauce before being finished off in a hot oven!
Step 1: INGREDIENTS (3 Servings)
- *1 boneless skinless chicken thigh per person
- 1/3 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup vegetable or high-temperature cooking oil
- 1 ripe Roma Tomato per thigh
- 1 ounce Fontina Cheese per thigh
- 1 cup bottled or homemade pasta marinara sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal Salt Sense)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- *It was my intention to prepare this recipe for 2 people, using 2 similarly sized chicken thighs weighing about 6 or 7 ounces each. However, when I unwrapped one of the chicken thighs, it was almost twice as big as the other one, thus I am claiming that this recipe serves 3 people (or 2 dinners and perhaps one light luncheon)?
Step 2: PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place 1 cup of high-temperature cooking oil in a large heavy non-stick frying pan or cast iron skillet on the stove, and begin to heat to medium high.
Place a glass or porcelain coated baking dish nearby so that it will be handy when needed (leave it dry; do not grease it or spray it with cooking oil).
Add 1 cup of tomato sauce (I used Publix Premium Pasta Marinara Sauce) to a small sauce pan; stir in crushed red pepper flakes if using, and heat over low heat while you prepare the chicken thighs.
Slice tomatoes and cheese and set aside.
Place a chicken thigh between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound thin with the flat side of a meat tenderizer or heavy object (you want them to be between 1/4 and 1/2" thick - the thighs I purchased were really fat and mine turned out to be at least 1/2" thick; maybe thicker).
Place the flour and cornmeal in separate bowls (paper plates work fine), and whisk the egg in a flat bowl or rimmed dish.
Dip each thigh in flour, the in the beaten egg, and then in the cornmeal, pressing it down to achieve as solid and thorough a coating as possible.
Step 3: INSTRUCTIONS
- Place the coated chicken thighs into the hot oil and fry until each side is nicely browned, turning once (if they begin to brown before the chicken is cooked through, you may want to reduce the heat to medium). Although I did not time this step, I believe I cooked those thick thighs that I had for at least 15 minutes.
- When the chicken thighs are cooked through and nicely browned, remove the pan from the heat and place the meat on a rack covered with paper towels to drain.
- *Next, place the "dry" cooked thighs in the baking dish; top each one with 3 slices of Roma Tomato, then cover them with slices of Fontina cheese.
- Spoon a TBS or two of the warm tomato sauce over each thigh and bake at 425 degrees f for about 12 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown.
Remove from oven and prepare to serve.
- *NOTE: Baking the chicken thighs in a "dry" baking dish helps to keep them nice and crispy. If you ladle sauce over the bottom of the dish, then place the fried chicken on top the coating will become soggy.
Step 4: TIME TO EAT . . .
Spoon a little warm tomato sauce over the bottom of a dinner plate; cover it with a baked chicken thigh and spoon a little more sauce over the top.
(I enjoyed my dinner tonight with a side of cold broccoli salad (left over from the previous night) and a glass of chilled white wine)
Step 5: NUTRITION
Although I estimated the nutrition for the Chicken Fontina as I usually do, using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Analyzer, I am not sure of the accuracy of my efforts. Especially because of the uneven size of the two thighs that I cooked, and because of the amount of Oil, flour, cornmeal and egg used. I did use up almost all of the flour and cornmeal, but only about half of the egg - and I retrieved 1/2 cup of cooking oil from the skillet after frying the chicken.