Chicken Parmesan – Chicken Parmigiana – Pollo alla Parmigiana
One of the most popular Italian dishes in America, Chicken Parmigiana is a variation of the classic southern Italian dish, Eggplant Parmigiana. Although the term “parmigiana” comes from the northern Italian city of Parma, Eggplant Parmigiana originated in southern Italy. Some say Campania, other Sicily.
What I find interesting is how most Americans, including myself, have thought the dish was named for Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, one of the ingredients often used in preparing it. If you do a search for Chicken Parmesan you will find dozens of variations, some using Parmesan, some Pecorino, other Mozzarella. One of my favorite chefs, Ricco DeLuca taught me to use Meunster cheese and it is my favorite version.
Another theory about how Parmigiana got its name is described by Anna Pomar in her book La Cucina Tradizionale Siciliana. She says Parmigiana “is the Italianization of the Sicilian dialectal word “parmiciana”, which refers to the slats of wood which compose the central part of a shutter and overlap in the same manner as the slices of eggplant in the dish.”
No matter where it obtained its name, this version of Chicken Parmigiana from Chef Dawn Thomas is a good one.