One of Australia’s favourite pub meals is Chicken Parmigiana. It goes well with a pint of beer, it’s nutritious, and if cooked properly, it’s simply delicious. It’s common to hear people debating whether this classic dish is called Parma or Parmi, or if chips should be on the side or under it, or what’s the pub or restaurant to find the best one (we’ll be writing about this soon, so stay tuned!).
What is undeniable and widely accepted is that it brings people together. We recently talked with chef Telina Menzies from Sarah Sands Hotel, and she unapologetically and without too much thinking called it The Dish of the Nation.
Telina loves looking at people from the kitchen going “Wow! Look at that!” when they’re served with their Parma. This is not an easy task, she guided us through her process and the base, topping and sides and her secrets to making you go wow! next time you visit her at Sarah Sands.
It is very important to have a chicken breast base that is nice and even. Three hand-cuts allow for the perfect thickness, a single layer of panko breadcrumbs covers the breast to get golden crispy, and juicy meat when deep-fried. Regarding size, Telina has found that 250gr is the sweet spot to satisfy hunger and reduce food waste.
She never forgets that the chicken is the leading character in this play but she always brings the sound supporting cast, toppings.
And when it comes to toppings, the cardinal rule is putting the ham on top of the schnitzel so the sauce doesn’t make it soggy. Gypsy leg ham is her choice because it’s beautifully thick and smokey. For the sauce, she blends fresh tomatoes with sea salt, basil and olive oil. Aussie tasty, Mozzarella, and Parmesan combined make for the last layer before the parma goes into the oven. Yum!
The difference with the Sarah Sands Parma is that when it comes out of the oven they hit it with a really good handful of parmesan, sea salt and olive oil. Yes, those beautiful ingredients come again on top of your baked Parma. Yum Yum!
Now, let’s talk about the extras in our play, the sides. Their role is to balance flavours and refresh your palate. Another cardinal rule for Telina is to NEVER put the Parma on top of the chips because it makes it hard to eat and it steams the bottom of it making it soggy. The salad has picked herbs including tarragon, dill, and parsley with radicchio and house-pickled red onion topped with sherry vinegar. Yum Yum Yum!
So now you know how Telina cooks Parmas at the Sarah Sands Hotel, and we almost forget to share with you her secret ingredient which is LOVE!