Chicken Parmesan Burger
As much as I enjoy a classic Chicken Parmesan, this Italian favourite is notoriously high in both fat and calories, and not something that can be eaten on a regular basis without posing at least some danger to one’s cholesterol or arteries. This burger version is a lower fat alternative featured in the April 2011 edition of Cooking Light magazine, and substitutes ground chicken for the heavily breaded and fried patty in the original. In all other components – rich tomato marinara, fresh basil and melted mozzarella – the classic Parmesan is unaltered.
CHICKEN PARMESAN BURGER
2 (3-ounce) square or rectangular ciabatta rolls
1 fresh garlic clove, halved
1/2 pound ground chicken
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp marinara sauce (recipe follows), divided
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Non-stick cooking spray
4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
8 whole fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium fresh white onion, finely chopped
2 large fresh garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 whole dried bay leaf
To make sauce:
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add chopped onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent (do not brown). Add garlic and saute gently (do not brown) for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Add crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil and bay leaf. Stir, immediately turn heat to low, and cover. Gently simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. To serve, remove bay leaf and discard.
To assemble burgers:
1. Preheat broiler to low setting.
2. Cut ciabatta rolls in half. Place bread, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Broil for 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove bread from pan and rub each slice with cut side of garlic. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. In a non-reactive bowl, combine chicken, 1/3 cup marinara, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Divide into 2 portions, shaping each into a 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick patty. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook for 3 minutes. Turn patties, and place pan in oven. Bake for 8 minutes. Top each patty with 2 slices of mozzarella, baking an additional minute or until melted.
5. Layer bottom half of each roll with 2 basil leaves, 1 patty, 1 tablespoon marinara, 2 basil leaves, and roll top. Serve warm.