The keys to an awesome parmigiana are thick-cut, free-range ham, buffalo mozzarella and free-range chicken breast. I also find the meat stays moister by cutting it in long, flat slices, instead of flattening it with a mallet. You can do veal parmigiana with this recipe or, for a vegetarian version, use eggplant and skip the ham. The roast capsicum and tomato salad is a good accompaniment.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Plain flour for dredging
2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil, or as needed
200g free-range ham, medium sliced
1 bottle tomato passata
1 bunch basil
400g fresh mozzarella, sliced
For roast capsicum and tomato salad
3 red capsicums
3 green capsicums
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp sea salt flakes
6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into thin wedges
Handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
60ml sherry vinegar
Cut off any fat, bone or gristle on chicken, then slice on an angle into 1-centimetre-thick slices (about 4 slices per breast). Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Spread flour on a plate. Mix breadcrumbs, rosemary and sesame seeds and spread on another plate.
Beat eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. Piece by piece, coat chicken in flour and tap off excess. Dip into beaten egg, letting excess egg drip back into the bowl, then coat in breadcrumbs, making sure each piece is well crumbed.
Heat oil in a wide, heavy frypan over medium-high heat until a chicken piece gives off a lively sizzle when dipped in. Add as many chicken pieces that fit without touching. Fry, turning once, until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Drain well on a baking tray lined with paper towels, then remove paper towels.
Top each piece of chicken with a slice of ham, then a tablespoon of pasatta. Place a basil leaf on the tomato and drape cheese slices over the top to cover the chicken completely.
The parmigiana can be prepared to this point up to several hours in advance. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Preheat oven to 180C. Bake chicken until cheese is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Place capsicums on a barbecue chargrill and cook, turning frequently with a pair of tongs, for 10-15 minutes, or until skins blacken and begin to peel off. The flesh should still be quite firm.
Place in a heat-proof bowl until cool enough to handle, then peel off and discard skins. Cut capsicums in half; discard seeds, stems and membranes, then cut into 3-centimetre-wide strips and place in a bowl.
Place garlic on a chopping board, sprinkle with salt flakes and chop together to form a paste. Add garlic paste to capsicum with remaining ingredients, combine well and serve warm.