Sesame Chicken Parmesan says "open sesame" to your heart! This crunchy take on the classic Italian dish adds the subtle nuttiness and buttery flavor of sesame to the breading, elevating the savory, juicy chicken underneath to new heights. The chicken is then broiled in a mixture of bright and sweet marinara and spicy harissa and topped with golden-brown, melty cheese. Sesame Chicken Parmesan is like a fusion of Italian and Arabic flavors to deliver a new kind of delicious!
IngredientsFor the chicken: • 4 (1/2-pound) chicken breasts, boneless and skinless • 1 cup buttermilk • 1/4 cup dijon mustard • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided • 1 cup sesame seeds • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1/2 cup cornstarch • 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder • 1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil, plus more as needed • salt, to taste For the sauce: • 4 cups marinara • 1 1/2 tablespoons harissa paste • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste • For cooking and assembly: • 1 1/2 cups provolone, shredded • 1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
Place a hand on top of one chicken breast and carefully slice it horizontally, stopping about 1/2 inch before cutting completely through.
Open the chicken breast so it looks kind of like a book laid flat. Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap. Gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness.
Repeat the butterflying process with the remaining chicken.
In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt.
Add the chicken to the buttermilk mixture, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, flour, cornstarch, 1/2 cup parmesan, the remaining salt, and baking powder.
Add 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture to the sesame mixture, using your fingers to work the mixture into pea-sized clumps.
Place a metal rack on a large baking sheet.
Preheat the broiler.
Transfer one of the chicken breasts out of the buttermilk mixture, letting any excess drip back into the bowl.
Place the chicken breast in the sesame mixture, turning it to coat and using your fingers to make sure the breading adheres.
Transfer the coated chicken breast to the prepared rack.
Repeat with the remaining chicken breast.
Line a second baking sheet with paper towels.
In a large high-sided skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. The oil is hot enough when it bubbles vigorously after adding a small pinch of breading.
Carefully lower a chicken breast into the oil and fry, turning halfway through, until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
Transfer the fried chicken to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain, seasoning it with salt.
Repeat this process with the remaining chicken, adding more oil as needed.
Whisk the marinara with the harissa and red pepper flakes.
Spoon 1/3 of the sauce mixture into a large baking dish.
Add the chicken breasts to the sauce-covered baking dish, overlapping them slightly.
Top the chicken with the remaining sauce, provolone, and the remaining parmesan.
Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden in places, about 5-6 minutes.
Let the dish cool slightly. Top with the basil just before serving.