Bailo’s Zesty Chicken Parmigiana
When an underground trap god, like Bailo, hits the road or gets into the studio to make a legendary track or a monster EP like his newly unveiled Trapped Out II, a full tank of energy is necessary. Fans will say that's not surprising considering how quickly he racked up 124,000 monthly listeners on Spotify or the fact that his 2020 album Trapped Out garnered nods from walloping icons like Zeds Dead, Alison Wonderland, What So Not, GTA, and CloZee - to name a few.
That's why when New York-born, Houston-based Gennaro Bailo (as he's known offstage) sits down for a meal, it's more than just a fuel up. A big part of who Bailo is comes from the food he makes for himself at home. In other words, Bailo loves his Italian heritage, so when he eats, he makes the family proud.
"Being Italian, my parents raised me around such a rich food culture." Bailo explains. "Growing up and seeing my family cook was always a sight to see, and to this day I've never eaten better food than my mom's."
He waxed a bit of nostalgia to introduce the origins of his recipe: a Zesty Chicken Parmigiana.
As a kid, I would watch her cook and learn from observation. So even after moving far away from home, I've still been able to enjoy my mom's classic dishes by making them myself with some added twists. One of her best recipes, Chicken Parmigiana, is one of my favorite's. You gotta love chicken cutlets, mozzarella cheese, and red sauce. My mom's recipe is a secret, so sorry, can't share that with y'all, but hire me to come cook this dish wherever you are!
He kept the promise to his Mom and didn't share her recipe with us, but he arguably gave us something better: a Bailo spin on it. In addition to being delicate and cultured, the dish is full-flavored. As is evidenced by all the seasoning in the ingredient list below, this one requires a little space and a hearty appetite. In other words, this isn't a main course. It's a meal. Capiche?
As far as tips for the recipe, Bailo said, "I will share one important tip: make sure your cutlets are sliced super, super thin. That way you'll get the crispy edges."
For The Chicken:
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• Salt and pepper to season
• 3 large chicken breasts halved horizontally to make 6 fillets
• 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
• 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (Italian or golden)
• 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
• 1 teaspoon garlic or onion powder
• 1/2 cup olive oil for frying
For The Sauce:
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 large onion chopped
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 14 ounces (400 g) tomato puree (Passata)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
• 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
For The Topping:
• 8 ounces (250 g) mozzarella cheese sliced or shredded
• 1/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or parsley
For The Chicken:
Step 1: Preheat oven 430°F | 220°C. Lightly grease an oven tray (or baking dish) with non-stick cooking oil spray. We'll set this aside for now.
Step 2: Whisk together eggs, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add chicken into the mixture, rotating to coat each fillet evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. For a deeper flavor, let it marinate overnight.
Step 3: Coat the chicken evenly with bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder together in a bowl.
Step 4: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Fry the chicken for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until the outside of it is golden and crispy.
Step 5: Place chicken on the prepared baking tray we made in step 1. Top each breast with about 1/3 cup of sauce (sauce recipe below), 2-3 slices of mozzarella cheese, and about 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with basil or parsley.
Step 6: Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and melted, and the chicken is cooked to a temperature of 165 F.
For The Sauce:
Step 1: Heat oil in a medium-sized pot.
Step 2: Fry onion for about 3 minutes or until transparent. Then add the garlic and mix for about 30 seconds or until the smells come alive.
Step 3: Add the tomato puree, salt, and pepper to taste, Italian herbs, and sugar (if using). Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened up a bit.
Step 4: Do a taste test and add salt and pepper as needed.
Step 5. Serve and enjoy!