It's A Keeper: Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Parm

I just love a recipe that doesn't destroy the kitchen and Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Parm is one of those recipes. Now, it must be said that some recipes are worth destroying the kitchen for. However, every now and then, it's great to make a recipe that tastes great, is healthy, and requires only a little bit of clean up.

Making this recipe was part of my quest to make it through Rachael's list of the top 10 recipes from her talk show. This one landed at number 10 on the list and I personally would have put it higher on the list. Rachael made it for Jeff Probst when she gave him a little cooking lesson.

I highly recommend making only half the sauce, since even half was too much for two servings, unless you really love to pile the tomato sauce on. And, to those RR critics out there, please note that this sauce is not from a jar. It's made using canned tomatoes and fresh ingredients (which Giada says is the best way to make it, by the way, since tomatoes are canned at their peak).

Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
4 1/2-inch thick slices eggplant
4 chicken cutlets, pounded thin [When I buy chicken cutlets, they are already pretty thin, so I didn't pound mine.]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ball smoked mozzarella [Make sure you get the smoked kind, since it really does make a difference and tastes great with the grilled stuff.]
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
A handful of basil leaves, chopped or torn

Pre-heat an outdoor or indoor grill to medium-high heat.

Pre-heat the broiler.

To make the sauce, heat EVOO in a skillet over medium-high heat. [I don't know if it's just my stove, but if I put it on medium-high, the garlic burns, so I usually just do medium.] Add the onions and garlic, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

Drizzle the eggplant slices and chicken cutlets with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. On one half of the grill place the eggplant slices. On the other half, place the chicken cutlets. Cook the eggplant and chicken for about 4 minutes per side. There should be no pink in the middle of the chicken.

To assemble, place 2 slices of eggplant on a baking sheet. Top each eggplant slice with a chicken cutlet. Top the chicken cutlet with another eggplant slice. Drizzle some of the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant and top that with a slice or two of smoked mozzarella. Finish it off with a handful of grated Parmigiano and pop under the broiler to melt the cheese. Garnish with some chopped or torn basil leaves.

Here are a couple more shots of the Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Parm:

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