Chicken parmigiana with giardiniera pickles

Chicken parmigiana with giardiniera pickle ("from the garden").
Chicken parmigiana with giardiniera pickle ("from the garden"). Photo: William Meppem

This is sponsored content for Lilydale

Butterflying the chicken breasts helps ensure even cooking. Tip: use a wooden bamboo skewer to transfer each fillet from flour to egg to breadcrumbs.

INGREDIENTS

For the giardiniera

Pickle brine

  • 150ml apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
  • 200ml water
  • 50g sugar
  • 1½ tbsp salt flakes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 green chilli, halved lengthways
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

Vegetables

  • 1 cup small cauliflower florets
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

For the tomato sauce

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ brown onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp 'nduja (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 400g can crushed tomatoes (or whole peeled tomatoes, crushed)
  • handful fresh basil, plus extra to serve

For the chicken parmigiana

  • 4 Lilydale boneless, skinless chicken breasts (with wing still attached if possible)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and black pepper
  • 300ml neutral oil for frying (rice bran, canola or grapeseed)
  • tomato sauce (above)
  • 80g fior di latte mozzarella, coarsely grated or thinly sliced
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve

METHOD

  1. Make the pickles by combining all the brine ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Place all the vegetables you are going to pickle in a stainless steel or glass bowl, and pour the boiling hot brine over them. Cover the bowl with cling film or a lid, and leave it out until it cools. Once cool, you can transfer to a jar and keep the pickles in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  2. Next, make the tomato sauce. In a small pot on the stove set over low-medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic and onion with a pinch of salt and cook slowly and gently until the onion is completely translucent, at least 5 minutes.
  3. Add the 'nduja (if using) and the tomato paste followed by the white wine. Allow the alcohol in the wine to cook out and then add in the tin of tomatoes or pulp. Add another pinch of salt and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. When finished, add a handful of fresh basil leaves and use a stick blender or a regular blender to blend together. Set aside to cool.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the chicken. Butterfly the chicken breasts by slicing them in half horizontally, being careful not to cut all the way through, then open them like a butterfly's wings.
  5. Place the butterflied chicken fillet between two sheets of baking paper and use a rolling pin (or the bottom of a frying pan) to bash it to an even thickness of about 1.5cm. Repeat with the remaining breasts. Season with salt on both sides and set aside.
  6. Set up 3 small trays, 1 with the flour, 1 with the cracked eggs, beaten, and finally 1 with the breadcrumbs. At the end, set up a tray or plate with baking paper. Move your chicken breasts through each tray, evenly coating both sides at every stage. Start with the flour, then into the egg and finally into the panko – use your hands to press the breadcrumbs so that they stick. Then place the crumbed chicken on the last tray while the oil heats up.
  7. Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced (190C conventional).
  8. Pour the fry oil into a wide skillet or frying pan and heat it on high. When the oil is "shimmery" add 1 or 2 of the chicken breasts – as many as you can fit without overcrowding. Brown each side, about 2 minutes per side. As each chicken breast is cooked, move it to a cooling rack set on top of a baking tray (this will help it stay crispy). Repeat with remaining breasts.
  9. To assemble, spread the tomato sauce on all the chicken breasts, top with the mozzarella (trying to cover at least 80 per cent of the chicken surface) and place the tray in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly (you can use the gill function for the final few minutes if you prefer).
  10. Remove the tray from the oven and top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve immediately with the pickles on the side.

Serves 4

For nearly 20 years, passionate Lilydale farmers have been perfecting free range farming based on one simple belief: chicken that's raised better, tastes better. Today, our commitment to quality and to the welfare of our chickens is what sets us apart.

We work hard to raise Australia's favourite free range chicken. But that kind of devotion makes all the difference.

From our farm to your plate. Where the finest ingredients transform into memorable dishes.

Lilydale. Dedication you can taste.

This recipe is from episode six of Good Food's new TV show, Good Food Kitchen, screening on Channel 9 at 1pm on Saturday, November 13, or catch up on 9Now.