- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in purée, puréed in a blender until smooth
- 2 teaspoons <
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
- 6 skinless boneless, skinless chicken thighs(2 lb total)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 ½
s (from firm white sandwich bread), lightly toasted
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces)
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 4 (12-inch-long) loaves halved lengthwise I use Panera's rolls
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced, this is much easier to do if you freeze the cheese first
Make tomato sauce:
Heat olive oil in a 4— to 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomato purée, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
Gently pound chicken to ⅓-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap using a flat meat pounder or a rolling pin. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir together flour, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl, then stir together bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano in another shallow bowl.
Dredge chicken slices in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in bread crumbs until evenly coated. Transfer chicken to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then Fry chicken 3 pieces at a time, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.
Arrange bottom halves of bread loaves on a large baking sheet and tops on another large baking sheet, all with cut sides up. Spread ¼ cup tomato sauce on each top and bottom. Divide chicken between bottom halves. Top each (open-faced) sandwich with ¼ cup tomato sauce and one fourth of mozzarella.
Bake open-faced sandwiches in lower third of oven until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. When cheese begins to melt, put tops of loaves in upper third of oven and bake until edges are golden, 3 to 4 minutes (watch tops closely; they burn easily). Put tops on bottoms to make sandwiches, then slice into serving pieces.