This is a great paleo twist on the classic Italian breaded chicken recipe, and adding a slice of cheese and Parma ham takes the dish to a completely new level. The addition of the fresh tomato, garlic and basil sauces gives the whole thing a really Italian American pizza vibe, with none of the carbs and a good load of quality protein and fats to help rebuild muscles after a good run.
Two skinless, boneless chicken breasts – flattened with the ball of your hand to an even 1cm thickness
One egg, beaten.
Two slices of Monterey Jack cheese (I’m sure other cheeses would also work – have a try!)
Two slices of Parma ham
Two dessert spoons of pine nuts
Two dessert spoons of sunflower seeds
Two dessert spoons of ground almonds
Small-ish chunk of fresh parmesan (or dessert spoon of grated)
Zest of a small lemon
Pinch of sea salt
Olive oil spray
Tomato and garlic sauce
One small clove of garlic, crushed
Six medium fresh tomatoes (ripe) – coarsely chopped (skins on)
Squeeze of tomato puree
Fresh or dried basil – to taste (small handful or one heaped teaspoon)
Dessert spoon of apple cider vinegar
Put the oven on high – 200 degree’s centigrade – with a greaseproof oven tray in the oven to heat up with a light spray of oil
Put the nuts, seeds, cheese, zest and seasoning in a blender and grind into a coarse breadcrumb like mix – spread evenly on a large plate.
Put the cheese on the cut side of the chicken breast (not the skinned side, which is the smoother side) and put the Parma ham on top – squeeze together.
Carefully dip the chicken in the beaten egg, making sure the cheese and ham stays in place, and then onto the “breadcrumb” mix. Do your best to give an even coating, and leave with the ham side upwards.
Take the hot tray out of the oven and put the chicken on top (ham side upwards). Give the top a quick spray and put back in the oven.
Cook for 15 minutes then remove and allow to cool for a few minutes. I like to slice before serving, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top.
Whilst the chicken is baking, gently fry the crushed garlic in a spoon of good quality olive oil for a couple of minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer. Add a bit more tomato puree if it’s not looking a vibrant red, and maybe a splash of water if it’s too thick. It only needs around 10 minutes of gentle cooking. This is a great and simple tomato based sauce that goes with all sorts of things – I like to add a bit of chilli or smoked paprika, and maybe some olives, to make a lovely sauce to go with courgetti with some fresh basil and parmesan on top – but let’s save that for another day.
Serve up with a nice fresh green salad with a dash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.