Sesame Seed-Crusted Chicken Parm

Sesame Seed-Crusted Chicken Parm


This Chicken Parm has one ingredient that gives it a MAJOR upgrade.
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lb.)
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • ¼ c. Dijon mustard
  • 3½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 c. sesame seeds
  • ¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. cornstarch
  • ½ c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • ½ c. to 1 c. peanut or vegetable oil
  • 4 c. marinara (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1½ tbsp. harissa paste
  • ¼ tsp. to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ c. shredded provolone
  • ¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • ¼ c. torn fresh basil
  1. Butterfly chicken breasts: Working with one at a time, place a hand on top of a chicken breast and carefully slice horizontally, stopping about ½" before it’s completely cut through. Open like a book so breast lies flat, then place between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to gently pound chicken until ¼" thick. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk buttermilk, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt. Add chicken, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  3. Bread chicken: In a large shallow bowl, whisk together sesame seeds, flour, cornstarch, Parmesan, remaining 1½ teaspoons salt, and baking powder. Add 2 tablespoons buttermilk mixture and use your fingers to work the mixture into pea-size clumps.
  4. Place a metal rack on a large baking sheet. Remove one of the chicken breasts from buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Transfer to sesame mixture and turn to coat, pressing with fingers to help mixture adhere. Transfer to the rack and repeat with remaining chicken.
  5. Fry chicken: Line a second baking sheet with paper towels. In a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven, heat ½ cup oil over medium heat. (It’s hot enough when oil bubbles vigorously after adding a small pinch of breading.) Carefully lower a breast into oil and fry, turning halfway through, until golden and cooked through, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding more oil as needed.
  6. Heat broiler. Whisk marinara with harissa and red pepper flakes. Spoon ⅓ sauce into a large baking dish. Add chicken breasts, overlapping slightly, and top with remaining sauce, provolone, and Parmesan. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden in spots, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  7. Top with basil just before serving.

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