Aired February 22, 2012
About 1/4 cup EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 to 6 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
1 fresh red chili pepper, thinly sliced with seeds or 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, about 1/3 palmful
1 32-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
Sea salt, to taste
For the Chicken Parm Cutlets:
2 chicken breasts, halved across, 4 cutlets total
Salt and pepper
Flour, for dredging, in shallow dish
2 large eggs, beaten in shallow dish
1 cup plain fine breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs or homemade coarse breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil, for shallow frying
For the BLT Hero Fixins:
8 slices good quality, thick-cut bacon
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup half-n-half or whole milk
A drizzle of EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Heart of romaine leaves, torn
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced
Italian-style rolls with sesame seeds, split and toasted
Preheat oven to 375F.
Prepare the sauce: Heat EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add garlic and chilies, and stir until very fragrant and garlic is light golden in color at edges, 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and break them up with a potato masher. Season with sea salt and simmer over low heat at a bubble partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pound chicken cutlets very thin, 1/8 inch. Season with salt and pepper. Set up three shallow bowls: one with the flour, one with the eggs and another with the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Coat chicken in flour, shaking off any excess then turn them in the egg and then finally in breadcrumbs. Fry in shallow oil over medium to medium- high heat until deeply golden. Keep cutlets warm in the oven on a rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with thyme, lemon zest, half-n-half or milk, EVOO, salt and pepper.
Remove the chicken from the oven and place rack at center of oven then switch on broiler.
Broil rolls to toasty golden brown and remove. Leave bun tops out. Arrange chicken on roll bottoms in this order: cutlet, sauce, cutlet, sauce, 2 slices mozzarella cheese. Broil until mozzarella is brown and bubbly. Top with bacon, lettuce, tomato. Slather bun top with ricotta spread and set into place.