Crispy, baked chicken parmesan on focaccia

A comforting sandwich with crispy, juicy, oven-baked chicken thighs topped with tangy and savory marinara and melty mozzarella. All sandwiched between your own buttery, light, and crunchy homemade focaccia.
YIELD
Instructions for 2 sandwiches with extra bread for 6 more sandwiches
PREP TIME
schedule 30 minutes
COOK TIME
schedule 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME
schedule 3 hours and 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Focaccia
  • 450 grams all-purpose flour (3 3/4 cups)
  • 337 grams water (1.5 cups)
  • 6 grams instant yeast (2 teaspoons)
  • 24 grams olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • 9 grams salt (1 1/2 teaspoons)
Baked chicken parmesan
  • 2 sandwich sized chicken thighs (you can use breast meat too, see notes below)
  • 14 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (optional)
  • 34 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • non-stick cooking spray (Pam or another brand)
Sandwich assembly
  • focaccia (from above)
  • 2 crispy chicken pieces
  • 12 cup marinara (view recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 4 thin slices of fresh mozzarella
  • basil, minced

Check below recipe directions
for additional notes.

Directions:

Focaccia: spray cooking spray into a 9 x 13-inch pan and then add and spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil around the pan.

Weigh and add all ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer or another large bowl.

Mix the ingredients in the stand mixer on medium for about 5 minutes or you can do this in a bowl with a spoon until there are no dry spots from the flour. This will not be a smooth dough; it will be wet and sticky. If you are stirring with a spoon, it will take about 10 minutes and will be a bit messy. 

Scrape the dough into the 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and olive oil added. Dunk the tips of your fingers into the oil in the pan and use them to spread the dough out a little. Don't worry about getting it into the corners yet.

Rest in a warm place for 45 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap or an inverted sheet pan that covers the whole 9 x 13 pan.

After 45 minutes, wet your fingers in a bowl of water and fold the dough over on top of itself a couple of times. This will be sticky and perhaps messy. But folding it once or twice will help the structure of the final dough. This fold is most easily accomplished by grabbing the edges of one of the short sides of the pan and folding it over onto itself.

Using water on the tips of your fingers as often as needed, attempt to get the folded dough into the shape of your pan. Push it around and get it as close to the corners as you can. It will stretch out more during the final resting phase, but making sure it's close to filling out the pan will help here.

Allow the dough to rest again for another 45 minutes, covered by plastic wrap or a sheet pan on top of the 9 x 13-inch pan.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (233 C). 

Dimple the top of the focaccia gently with your fingers. Try not to deflate the dough too much during this process. The yeast has worked hard to create the airy bubbles and create lift, be gentle. 

Once you have dimpled the top of the focaccia, drizzle it lightly with olive oil. At this point, you can season the top by sprinkling it with salt and herbs. I prefer to sprinkle flaky salt, ground black pepper, and maybe a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese. But you can add fresh basil, thyme or even sage if you want. A blend of Italian spices would also work well. 

Add the pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is brown and slightly darkened. I like to rotate the pan 180 degrees halfway for consistency of browning. 

Chicken parmesan: if you baked your focaccia earlier, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (230 C). Otherwise, it's the same temperature so leave it set.

Get your chicken thighs out of the refrigerator and start to set up your chicken dredging station. You will need three bowls for this. 

The first bowl will contain your all-purpose flour. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper to the flour.  

The second bowl will contain your whole egg, mayonnaise, and hot sauce. Add these three ingredients and whisk to combine well. 

The third bowl will have the panko breadcrumbs, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. whisk to combine. 

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

Spray the aluminum foil with cooking spray, this is where your chicken will go. 

For each chicken thigh, coat with flour in the flour bowl, then dip into the egg mixture (ensuring that it's fully coated everywhere) and finally press into the panko breadcrumbs until each piece is fully coated. Place on the cooking spray sprayed aluminum foil. 

Spray the top of each piece of chicken with cooking spray, this will help the chicken brown and crisp up better.  

Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and flip each chicken piece. Spray the top side of the chicken again with cooking spray. 

Bake for another 5 or 10 minutes. These last few minutes are depending on the thickness of your chicken. If you're using thick chicken breasts you will need the full amount of time. Thinner and smaller sized chicken thighs might only need 5 more minutes.

At this point, your chicken should be done, and you can remove it to a wire rack to rest. 

Sandwich assembly: slice focaccia into shapes the size of your chicken pieces and then slice horizontally to get ready for sandwiching.

Place pieces of chicken on top of the bottom slice of focaccia. Top the chicken with a couple of tablespoons of marinara.

Sprinkle the marinara and chicken with 1 tablespoon of parmesan for each sandwich. Add 2 slices of mozzarella on top of each chicken parmesan. 

Place the focaccia bottom slice with the chicken, marinara, and mozzarella on a sheet pan and place it under a hot broiler for 4 minutes or until the cheese is melty.

Remove the sheet pan and top each sandwich with minced basil and then cover everything with the focaccia top to complete the sandwich.

Serve and enjoy.

Notes:

Chicken: If you want to use breast meat, you will probably need to butterfly the meat so that it is thin enough to cook in time. Your meat needs to be no more than 3/4 of an inch thick to ensure that it is cooked sufficiently in 15 or 20 minutes. Chicken tenders would work well at this oven time and temperature if you want to use those. 


Have you made this recipe? Tag @beerinator and let him know!



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