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Parmo is a classic takeaway dish from Teesside, created by an American army chef who settled in the area after World War II. Essentially a fried breadcrumbed piece of pork or chicken, slathered with ‘bech’ (béchamel sauce) and cheese, it’s not for the faint-hearted – although our version is more waistline-friendly
- 2 large skinless chicken breasts, about 160g each
- 25g plain flour
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 125g dried breadcrumbs
- sunflower oil, to deep fry and bake with
For the topping
- 25g butter
- 25g plain flour
- 250ml milk
- 1 bay leaf
- grated nutmeg
- 75g grated cheese (Red Leicester or mature cheddar)
- Preheat the oven to 240°C, fan 220°C, gas 9, unless you’re going to deep-fry the chicken.
- Start by making the béchamel sauce topping. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour; stir until smooth. Take off the heat; gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the heat, add the bay leaf and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 5 minutes until thick; add nutmeg and season. Scrunch up a sheet of baking paper, dampen and press on top of the sauce to stop a skin forming. Set aside.
- Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally, then place between 2 sheets of baking paper and bat out to an even thickness (about 8mm) with a rolling pin.
- Put the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in 3 separate bowls. Season the chicken, then dip in flour, egg and crumbs to coat, in turn.
- If oven-baking, put the chicken on a greased baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Bake for 20 minutes until crisp, flipping after 15 minutes. If deep-frying, heat the oil to 160°C, or until a breadcrumb sizzles when dropped in the fat. Deep-fry the breaded chicken, two at a time, until cooked through and golden (about 3-4 minutes). Drain on kitchen paper, then transfer to a baking tray or dish.
- Preheat the grill to high. Spoon the béchamel sauce over each chicken breast (discard the bay leaf) and top with a handful of cheese. Grill until golden. Serve immediately, with chips and garlic sauce drizzled all over, adding salad, if you like.