In a tie with Spaghetti, Chicken Parmigiana is what people from the West normally think of as the quintessential culinary creation from Italy. All of those freshly cut tomatoes covered in oregano and parmesan cheese heartily slathered on a lightly breaded chicken filet. If you’re feeling a bit risqué, you can even lay the meat on a bed of pasta. Many love this dish, and you see it in every good Italian restaurant across America. But, did you know… that Chicken Parmigiana is NOT from Italy? Yes, you read correctly. I know you’re shocked, but contrary to common belief, Chicken Parmigiana was not invented by Italians.
In fact, there haven’t been any clear indications on the origin of this culinary masterpiece. Many people have likened it to Moussaka, which is a potato-based dish which originated in the countries of the once Ottoman Empire. This dish is also seen in early America, causing some to believe this is was a new take on an old recipe. This dish seemed to crop up in American cities with a large Italian community, including New York, and New Jersey. It’s even showed up in South America. This recipe likely came about when immigrants in the West acquired newfound wealth. Their Chicken Parmigiana imitated home-style cooking to fill their home-sickness when they could not be in Italy. The dish looks to be derived from the traditional Northern Italy recipe, melanzane alla parmigiana, which means Eggplant Parmigiana.
Eggplant Parmigiana, also known as Aubergine Parmigiana is dish made from deep-fried sliced eggplant, layered with cheese and tomato sauced, and then baked.There have been several regions that have claimed the twice cooked Parmigiana dish, including the Southern regions of Campania, Sicily, and by Northern Parma.
So next time you’re in Rome and can’t find a shop that sells Chicken Parmigiana, don’t be alarmed. Instead, try the melanzane alla parmigiana. This can be found all over Southern regions of Italy, including Sicily.
Remember though, just because this dish didn’t originate in Italy doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty! Swing by Italian Garden, which is located in San Marcos, Texas, for a taste of a truly authentic Chicken Parmigiana meal. You can even bring your own wine to pair with our wonderfully prepared cuisine. Check out our menu here and see what other delicious dishes you can try here at Italian Garden!