Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Basil and Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
This fast and easy dish livens up boring old chicken breasts and makes for a great weekday entrée!
- 1 1/2-2 pounds fingerling potatoes or baby red potatoes
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1 cubanelle pepper (an Italian mild green pepper), seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese, available in tubs near the deli counter at the grocery store – make sure to get shredded cheese, not grated
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8 ounces each)
- Coarse salt and pepper
- 4 Roma tomatoes or small vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 15-20 leaves fresh basil, cut or torn into a chiffonade
Pre-heat the oven to 500°F.
Cut the fingerling potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on thickness of fingerlings – thin, small fingerlings may also be left whole, while larger potatoes should be quartered to speed cooking process. If you are using small red potatoes, halve or quarter them in the same way.
Cover a large cookie sheet with foil. Place potatoes on the cookie sheet. Combine with peppers, onion, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Coat the potatoes, peppers and onions with EVOO, just enough to coat vegetables in a thin layer, 2-3 tablespoons. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Place the potatoes in the oven and roast for 20-22 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender and the peppers and onions are crisp at the edges. Toss the mixture with tongs, turning the potatoes after 15 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a serving dish and peel the foil off the cookie sheet and discard for super-quick clean up!
While the potatoes cook, prepare the chicken: roll out a 2-foot piece of waxed paper or foil near the stove top. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat – your pan must be very hot when the chicken is added. Pile the shredded cheese on the work surface created with the waxed paper or foil. Season your chicken breasts with black pepper but no salt; the cheese will add enough salt to the taste of the dish. Press the breasts firmly into the cheese. Coat both sides of breasts with as much cheese as possible.
Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to the skillet, one turn of the pan. Set the breasts into the skillet and cook for 7 minutes on each side, until the cheese forms an even, golden casing around the tender chicken breasts.
While the chicken cooks, combine the chopped tomatoes with basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Drain off any excess oil from the chicken as you remove it from the skillet. Top the chicken with big spoonfuls of raw sauce and serve with potatoes, peppers and onions.
Tip: when translated literally from the French, “chiffonade” means “made of rags.” In culinary terms it means finely cut strips or ribbons of leafy vegetables or herbs. To chiffonade basil leaves, stack them, roll them up and slice across the vein.