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Why This Recipe Works

Traditional chicken Parmesan is a minefield of potential problems—a soggy crust that doesn’t stick, overcooked chicken, and a chewy blanket of ­mozzarella—so we knew that making this recipe gluten-free was sure to pose some challenges. Typically, pounded chicken cutlets are dipped in flour, then beaten egg, and finally bread crumbs to create an even, crisp coating. After they are pan-seared, the cutlets are then covered with tomato sauce and cheese and baked. Turning to the flour coating first, we found that simply replacing the flour with cornstarch worked well for a gluten-free version. As an added bonus, the additional starch helped the coating cling well to the chicken and also contributed to creating and retaining crispness. The biggest challenge was the bread-crumb coating itself. We tried using store-bought gluten-free bread crumbs but found them to vary widely among brands, with many tasting bland, dusty, and gritty overall. So for the sake of consistency, we settled on making our own fresh crumbs in the food processor. But unlike homemade bread crumbs made with wheat bread, those made with gluten-free bread didn’t coat the chicken slices evenly. Because of gluten-free bread’s high starch content and lack of structure, the bread crumbs broke down into sticky pieces that clumped together. The solution was to dry them out in the oven and add cornstarch, which helped eliminate clumping. To keep the cheese topping tender, we mixed the usual shredded mozzarella cheese with an equal amount of creamy fontina. We placed the mixture directly on the fried cutlets and briefly broiled them to form a waterproof layer between the crust and the sauce. This cheese barrier delivered a juicy cutlet that kept its crunch.

Ingredients

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4 ounces (4 slices) gluten-free multigrain sandwich bread, torn into quarters
1 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon garlic powder
teaspoon dried oregano
1 large egg
4 (3- to 4-ounce) chicken cutlets, 1/2 inch thick, trimmed
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
1 cup tomato sauce, warmed
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Nutritional Information

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Serving (Serves 4)

  • Calories 623
  • Cholesterol 131 mg
  • Fat 40 g
  • Sodium 815 mg
  • Saturated 10 g
  • Carbs 33 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Monounsaturated 21 g
  • Sugar 4 g
  • Polyunsaturated 6 g
  • Protein 31 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Instructions

Serves 4

1. Adjust 1 oven rack to lower-middle position and second rack 4 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Process bread in food processor until evenly ground, about 45 seconds. Spread crumbs in even layer on rimmed baking sheet and bake on lower rack, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer crumbs to shallow dish and break up large clumps into fine crumbs. Stir in Parmesan, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, garlic powder, and oregano.

2. Set wire rack in each of 2 rimmed baking sheets and line 1 with several layers of paper towels. Beat egg in second shallow dish. Place remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch in large zipper-lock bag. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 piece chicken at a time, add to bag of cornstarch and shake to coat. Remove chicken from cornstarch and shake off excess, then dip in egg, and finally coat with crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere; lay coated chicken on unlined wire rack.

3. Heat broiler element. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 2 cutlets in skillet and cook, without moving them, until bottoms are crisp and deep golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip cutlets and cook on second side until deep golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to paper towel–lined rack. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and repeat with remaining cutlets, lowering heat if necessary.

4. Remove paper towels underneath chicken. Combine mozzarella and fontina and sprinkle evenly over cutlets to cover completely. Broil on upper rack until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving platter and top each cutlet with 2 tablespoons sauce. Sprinkle with basil and serve with remaining sauce.