Chicken Parmesan-ish with Greens
A lighter, simpler version of an Italian-American favorite, this chicken Parmesan-ish removes the breadcrumbs and eliminates the dirty dishes, because it only requires one skillet to make (we love a one-skillet meal). This recipe doesn’t sacrifice flavor for a simplified cooking process, either – all the melty, cheesy goodness of the original is here. For a heartier meal, serve with a slice of crusty bread to soak up all the sauce.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each 6 to 8 oz. (185 to 250 g)
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 16 oz. (515 g) jar store-bought tomato-basil sauce
- 4 slices (5 oz./155 g) fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 - 2 bunches watercress, trimmed from the root
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) with the rack set in the upper third of the oven.
Working with 1 breast at a time, place the chicken between 2 pieces of parchment paper or inside a 1-gallon zip-top bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Gently give the chicken a few pounds with the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to even out the thickness and help tenderize the meat. Do not over pound the meat as we want to keep its shape. Let the chicken sit out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.
Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season both sides liberally with kosher salt and pepper. In a 10-inch (25-cm) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook until a golden crust forms on one side, about 4 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for 3 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce on and around the chicken. Place 2 slices of mozzarella on each chicken breast and sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the mozzarella is melted and the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165°F (75°C), about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Meanwhile, toss the watercress with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, the remaining Parmesan and a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Serve the chicken dressed with the watercress.
Optional: After the chicken is fully cooked, place the skillet in the oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, keeping an eye on the cheese to make sure that it does not burn. Remove when the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden brown. Serves 2.
Belle English, Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen Director