Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Parmigiana, is a classic Italian-American dish that has gained popularity worldwide. It consists of breaded and fried chicken cutlets topped with tomato sauce and cheese, typically mozzarella and Parmesan. However, despite its name, there is often confusion about whether Chicken Parm actually contains Parmesan cheese.
What is Chicken Parmesan?
Chicken Parmesan is a delicious combination of flavors and textures. Tender chicken cutlets are coated in breadcrumbs and then fried until golden brown, creating a crispy outer layer.
The chicken is then smothered in tangy tomato sauce and topped with a generous amount of cheese. The dish is typically baked until the cheese has melted and turned golden and bubbly.
The Role of Parmesan Cheese
The name “Chicken Parmesan” implies that the dish includes Parmesan cheese as one of its main ingredients. However, this can be misleading for those who are expecting to find chunks or shreds of Parmesan throughout the dish.
So, does Chicken Parm have actual pieces of grated or shredded Parmesan?
The answer is not always straightforward. While some recipes do call for grated or shredded Parmesan to be sprinkled on top of the chicken cutlets before baking, others solely rely on mozzarella cheese for the cheesy topping. This variation in recipes can lead to different interpretations of what constitutes an authentic Chicken Parm.
The Cheese Dilemma
Traditionally, Chicken Parmigiana originates from Southern Italy, where it is often made without any additional grated or shredded cheeses apart from mozzarella. In fact, many Italian restaurants in Italy still follow this traditional approach.
In contrast, Italian-American versions of Chicken Parm frequently incorporate Parmesan cheese as an additional layer of flavor. The grated or shredded Parmesan is often mixed with breadcrumbs to create a flavorful crust for the chicken cutlets.
The Importance of Personal Preference
Ultimately, whether or not Chicken Parmesan includes Parmesan cheese is a matter of personal preference. Some people enjoy the added nutty and savory notes that Parmesan brings to the dish, while others prefer the simplicity of just using mozzarella.
It’s important to note that the absence or presence of Parmesan does not make a Chicken Parm dish any less authentic or delicious.
Chicken Parmesan is a versatile and tasty dish that can be customized according to individual preferences. While some recipes include grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, others rely solely on mozzarella. Regardless of which version you prefer, Chicken Parm is sure to satisfy your cravings for a comforting and flavorful meal.