Ok, here’s a question for you: if we were to say Chicken Caesar and Chicken Parmigiana, which country immediately springs to mind?
Italy, right? The salad automatically brings up images of a toga clad emperor munching on croutons and chicken strips whilst overlooking a map of his kingdom.
Whilst as you soon as you hear the word Parmigiana the image of a sweet nonna rustling up a traditional recipe for her adored grandkids immediately springs to mind.
Well, we have news for you. Neither dish is in fact from Italy. But we’re not here to be annoying and just prove you wrong. No, we’re here to let you in on the actual history of these dishes so that you can be the annoying one next time you’re down at the pub and show off to your pals. You’re welcome.
Where does Chicken Caesar Salad originate from?
Mexico. Yep, the famous salad was conceived in the town of TIjuana in 1924. The inventor? An (admitelly half Italian) American chap called Caesar Cardini. The chef came up with the original recipe when rustling up a dish to celebrate the 4th of July.
He chucked romaine salad, croutons, worcester sauce croutons, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and a few eggs and named the dish after himself. The chicken, in this case, came after the egg, as it was added at a later date as a meaty variation of the original recipe.
The combo proved incredibly popular in both Mexico and America and soon everyone, from Cardini’s friends to Hollywood stars wanted a bite of this filling, crunchy and refreshing dish.
Ok and what about the Parmigiana?
The origin story for this dish is slightly more murky. Yes the word ‘parmigiana’ is undoubtedly Italian and actually refers to the Italian dish of the same name. The difference? The traditional version only uses aubergines. You will only catch nonnas using the vegetable to create this cheesy baked treat. The chicken version is actually attributed to America and made popular in Australia, who lovingly call it the Parmi.
Legend has it that the Italian immigrants to both these countries had to adapt to the lack of eggplant and, determined to still have one of their favourite dishes, they swapped aubergine for chicken. It’s safe to say that the latter really took off, now becoming one of Australia’s all time favourite treat and a staple in any quality pub menu.
What’s in a Parmi?
Well, it’s basically fried chicken, over the top of chips and drowned in a creamy tomato sauce topped with parmesan cheese and then baked. A (let’s face it, mostly decorative) side salad is also often included. Yum.
Hungry yet? We are. Check out our app and order yourself some fake Italian chicken dishes.