Parmesan crusted chicken breasts with meltingly tender aubergines in a tangy tomato sauce and a melted mozzarella topping, this tasty dish is great with ciabatta or baguette and assorted salad leaves. A wonderful version of the Italian classic where the chicken is quickly pan fried to seal in all those lovely juices before being oven baked for ease and convenience. This can be prepped earlier in the day making it a great and tasty meal for a dinner party or company; prepare to oven bake stage and then cover with cling film and store in the fridge - allow to come to room temperature before baking. (Prep time includes pan frying the chicken and aubergines)
4 aubergines, thinly sliced
olive oil, for shallow-frying
4 chicken breast fillets
100g finely grated parmesan cheese
garlic cloves, for rubbing
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon water
2 whole small mozzarella cheese, finely sliced
fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 large plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons tomato puree
200g pitted black kalamata olives, in olive oil
200ml red wine
This can be prepped earlier in the day, making it a great and tasty meal for a dinner party or company; prepare to oven bake stage and then cover with cling film and store in the fridge - allow to come to room temperature before baking. (Prep time includes pan frying the chicken and aubergines)
Aubergines. Fry the aubergine slices in olive oil until golden brown, then set aside. OR, brush them lightly with olive oil and spread the slices on a baking (cookie) sheet and place in a pre-heated oven (200C/400F/Gas 5) for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy.
Tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry until softened, around 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for a further 3-5 minutes, mixing well. Add the capers, tomato puree, olives and red wine. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together, then beat together the eggs with the water. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then coat thoroughly in the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the coated chicken and fry until golden on both sides - about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F/Gas 4. Oil a shallow ovenproof dish and rub with garlic. Place the aubergines in a layer over the base of the dish and then add the fried chicken breasts and pour half of the tomato sauce in and around the chicken.
Layer the sliced mozzarella over the chicken, then spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with a little more grated parmesan. Tuck a few fresh oregano leaves in and around the chicken and sauce.
Bake the chicken for 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve the chicken on a bed of mixed salad leaves, flavoured with a squeeze of lemon and garnish with basil or oregano and more Parmesan shavings.