Episode 002 - Jordan Foisy & Chicken Parmesan

Photo by Chris DePaul

Photo by Chris DePaul

Comedian Jordan Foisy eats a Chicken Parmesan sandwich and talks to host Mike Christie about Sault Ste Marie, the food service industry and John Tory. @JordanFoisy

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Recipe for Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

Makes 4 sandwiches

Marinara/Tomato Sauce

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 can canned tomatoes, whole Italian or diced
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp anchovy paste or fish sauce (optional)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Spinach pesto

1/3 cup thawed frozen spinach, drained of its water
1/4 cup hard aged cheese, Parmagiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, or Pecorino Romano
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp nuts (pine nuts, brazil nuts, etc.)
2 tbsp sherry (or lemon juice or cider vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken

4 chicken breasts, gently pounded thinly to the same thickness with a rolling pin and parchment paper
½ cup all purpose flour
1 egg
1 tbsp water
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne

4 slices provolone cheese
1 bunch/package fresh basil, chiffonade (thinly sliced)
4 white Kaiser/Italian buns
2+ cups vegetable oil (enough to fill your pan ½ inch up the sides)

Instructions

First, take 3 pucks of the frozen spinach and thaw them in the microwave or on the stove top. Make sure to squeeze out excess moisture. Puree drained spinach with olive oil, nuts, hard aged cheese, sherry, and salt and pepper.

OK next, the marinara sauce. Start by sweating one white onion in a pot on medium high heat with the olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. After the onions start to get very translucent, add minced garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Then add 1 can of canned tomatoes, get the pot to a bubbling simmer, and turn the heat down to low. Let it cook in low for at least 30 minutes, ideally 60 minutes. Add in sugar and optional ingredients if desired (fish sauce, anchovy paste, red wine vinegar, hot sauce). Depending on your desired chunkiness/smoothness of the sauce, puree all ingredients if you want more uniformity in texture in the sauce.

Ok last big thing is the chicken. The key with the chicken is to make sure that the piece you’re cooking has the same thickness throughout. Use parchment or waxed paper, place it on top of the chicken, and use a rolling pin to gently bash out the piece to the same thickness.

Once that’s done set up a basic breading station. You’ll need 3 bowls - flour in the first bowl, egg wash in the second bowl, and Panko bread crumbs in the third bowl. Season the flour in the first bowl with salt and cayenne, for the second bowl whisk one egg well with a splash of water added to it, and add your breadcrumbs to the third bowl. Simply cover the chicken completely in the flour, then in the egg wash, then finally in the breadcrumbs in that order. Make sure that breadcrumbs cover the chicken completely and then you’re ready to fry.

Get our your largest frying pan and add enough oil so that it comes up about ½ an inch or so up the pan. Turn your stove on medium high heat. If you have a thermometer, get the oil to 350 degrees. If you don’t, you’ll know when to add the chicken when you drop a bit of flour or breadcrumbs in the pan and it starts to sizzle. Fry the chicken approximately 3-4 minutes per side or until the chicken reaches 165°F.

Remove from fryer, set on paper towels and season with salt immediately. Add slice of provolone cheese immediately after seasoning to encourage melting.

So once that’s all done, it’s sandwich assembly time. Slice your sandwich roll, spread the spinach pesto on the bottom half along with 1 spoonful of tomato sauce. Add fried chicken on top of that, THEN provolone cheese, THEN thinly sliced basil.  On the top bun, spread a couple of spoonfuls of the marinara sauce, knowing that more may get messy (for better or for worse). 

Recipes by Mike Christie

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About Back of the House

Back of the House is a comedy and food podcast in Toronto. Host Mike Christie invites comics and entertainers over for a meal that has special significance in the guest's life and they discuss food, comedy, urbanism, and whatever's irking them in the moment. Remember, this is water and some are lakes. 

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