Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ladolemono Chicken Parmesan

Tomato sauce (2 small cans)
Tomato paste (1 can)
Pasta (penne or cut ziti will work)
Chicken breast tenderloins
Feta cheese (crumbled)
Parmesan cheese (shredded)
Dijon mustard
Olive oil
Lemon juice

This recipe was inspired by a post on the excellent food blog Potter's Kitchen for a quick, traditional Chicken Parmesan. I'd wager that if you asked the average American what their favorite Italian food is, chicken parm would be in the top 5. Its deliciousness lies in simplicity of concept: pasta, sauce, breaded chicken, cheese. It's so simple a concept, in fact, that it's just begging for some variation and substitution. But what variation? Well, I'm Greek and it's Italian... plus, around 100 BC, those motherfuckers stole our gods. It's time to pay the fiddler, bitch.
Now, we could just dredge some chicken in olive oil and call it Greek, but we have more cajones than that. My second favorite traditional Greek sauce (after tzatziki) is a simple lemon and olive oil sauce called ladolemono. It's used as everything from a marinade, to a dressing, to a dip for chicken, lamb, and seafood and it's really fucking delicious. We can make a simple Greekish tomato sauce with oregano and basil, and we'll give feta cheese a headlining role beside the parmesan (or parmigiano-reggiano if you buy the real stuff).
Foodies like to bandy about the word "deconstruction", which usually means spreading the ingredients out on a plate and making you assemble it yourself. A deconstructed PB&J would be a half a loaf of Ethiopian rye bread, a glob of peanut butter mixed with almonds and avocado smeared "artfully" on a plate, and a small German shoe filled with apricot and owl vomit jelly. It's not so much deconstructed as it is unnecessarily fucked with, and not usually for the better. This is more of a logical reengineering.

1. We're going to start with the ladolemono. Combine 1/4 cup of lemon juice (fresh would be good but not required), 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, about 1/2 tablespoon of oregano, and a dash of salt and pepper. Whisk until it's well blended and store in the ice box until later.

2. For the tomato sauce, combine your tomato sauce and paste in a pot. Add in one minced  clove of garlic, oregano, basil, and a few dashes of salt. Cover and let simmer over medium heat. It's also a good idea to put your pot of water with a dash of salt (to taste) on to start boiling around this time.

3. Prep your chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. Grab a basting brush and give one side a quick coat of ladolemono.

I used a ceramic counter top grill to cook the chicken, but a pan over medium heat works perfectly well. Add your chicken (brushed side down) to your cooking surface and give the other side a quick coat. The tenderloin pieces are small enough that you should be able to tell when you should flip them just by looking (the edges will turn white).

4. You should have three things going... the chicken, the tomato sauce, and a boiling pot of water.

Drop in your pasta. It should take around 10 minutes, but check it to be sure. I'm going to assume you've learned to do this properly by now. If not, please don't ever vote.

Your tomato sauce should be coming along pretty nicely now, too. Go ahead and start preheating your oven to 350.

5. Once you've flipped your chicken once you should be around five minutes from it being done. Again, DON'T CUT INTO THE GODDAMN CHICKEN TO CHECK. If you're really unsure, press your finger (or the back of a spoon if you're a fucking pussy) into the palm of your open hand and then into the chicken. If they feel the same, the chicken (and your hand) is done.

6. When your chicken is done, lay it out much like you did in step three. Please don't be a fucktard and use the same plate that your prepped your chicken on unless you thoroughly wash it. Brush on the remainder of the ladolemono.

7. It's time to construct. In a casserole or baking dish, lay out your noodles,

cover with your tomato sauce,

and add in your chicken.

Now cover that bitch with feta and Parmesan. Again, this is more art than science, but don't skimp on the feta. Toss this is your preheated oven for 15 minutes.

And your ladolemono chicken parmesan is finished. This came out pretty fucking awesome, if I do say so myself. It's like Greece and Italy having dirty, kinky sex in your mouth.

Plate and enjoy.


  1. What can you do for me in the desert department?

  2. Dessert for me is usually a glass of whisky and a half hour with the pipe. I'm not much of a baker, but I'll see what I can do.

  3. MMMMmmmm.... I want that sauce you rubbed the chicken in dumped directly into my mouth. DIRECTLY INTO MY MOUTH!!

    Thats what she said.

    Excellent variation by the way. I love home made pasta sauce.

  4. Dirty... kinky my mouth? MUST TRY.

    Also, "plus, around 100 BC, those motherfuckers stole our gods. It's time to pay the fiddler, bitch."