Normally, I don’t agree with much that Payton Manning says. When you are firmly entrenched as a Tom Brady in the Belichick Army, no enemy is more the adversarial than the great forehead himself. But, damn it I would be lying if I didn’t agree with that man when it comes to his love for one of the most delicious culinary creations either, Chicken Parm! As a brief aside, I have no clue why someone hasn’t had the genius idea to cross promote this new tag line of his with his sponsorship of Papa Johns, ever heard of a Chicken Parm Pizza, come on Papa, get to work. The combination of some crunchy breaded chicken covered with tangy tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella cheese just can’t be beat in my head, my heart, and especially my stomach.
Part of my criteria when judging if a food is truly great is its diversity. Pork lo mein is delicious and everything but you can really only get it one way. Chicken parm strikes it big in this category, whether it be straight up on a plate with some penne, or on a nice crusty sub roll, or even better thrown onto a pizza (RIP Schoolhouse Pizza and the Deliverboy Danny).
My favorite chicken parm entree has to be at my hometown hub The Chateau. I am completely serious in saying that I have not ordered a single meal from The Chateau in over 15 years (trust me I did the math) that was not their chicken parm with a side on penne. The two factors that make the chicken parm so delectable is the thick cut chicken breast and the incredible Chateau sauce. The chicken is thick and juicy, resembling more the texture of a medium steak than a dried out fried cutlet. Top that off with some cheese and what is arguably the best tomato sauce in the world; sweet and tangy with flecks of basil and oregano. When I think of comfort food this is the first thing jumping in my head.
When it comes to the sandwich variety, I have to split up my favorites between my former and current homes. In Waltham, MA you will find the great Italian bakery and sandwich dynamo that is Domenic’s Italian Bakery & Deli. The key to their chicken parm is hands down the crusty delectable rolls it’s served on, dusted with left over flour from the oven and crunchy here and soft there, it can not be beat! Well… if it can be beat, then those fine people at Parm would be the ones to do it. At Parm they give you the option of getting it on a roll, hero, or platter, and while I can’t fault you in any of the options, I go with the semolina roll every single time. Parm cracks into my favorite from the way the creamy milk whey (way the whey, see what I did there?) of the fresh mozzarella cheese melds together with the luscious tomato sauce creating an almost new condiment to top on some perfectly fried chicken.
Payton Manning, you may never win another Super Bowl, but you should keep your head held high, you at least have the same chicken parm opinion as me.