Variety is the spice of life, and variety of textures can make or break a meal. (You don't want a soggy mess or a meat that takes you twenty minutes to chew!) The pieces of this meal come together for a complete picture of transcendent texture. Marinara sauce contrasts with crispy panko, and when topping chicken cooked to tender perfection, the texture trio is heavenly to taste and chew. The cauliflower mash is all creamy softness, and a bite with both together is a textural clinic, a mouthfeel like none other.
Coarsely chop cauliflower florets.
Stem and mince parsley.
Pat chicken breasts dry, and season both sides with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook the Cauliflower
Bring a medium pot with cauliflower, 1½ cups water, and ¼ tsp. salt to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium-high and stir occasionally until water evaporates completely, 15-17 minutes. Make sure no water is left in pot; remaining water will make grits runny.
Remove from burner. Add sour cream and half the Parmesan (reserve remaining for topping). Mash until mostly smooth, seasoning with a pinch of salt, if desired. Set aside.
While cauliflower cooks, toast panko.
Toast the Panko
Place a medium oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and panko to hot pan. Stir constantly until toasted, 1-2 minutes.
Remove from burner. Transfer panko to a mixing bowl and toss with half the parsley (reserve remaining for garnish) and remaining Parmesan. Set aside.
Wipe pan clean and reserve.
Roast the Chicken
Return pan used to toast panko to medium heat.
Add 2 tsp. olive oil and chicken breasts to hot pan. Cook undisturbed until browned on one side, 4-5 minutes.
Flip chicken, and top with marinara. Place pan in hot oven and roast until chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven. Place a dry towel on handle of pan to indicate it's hot.
Finish the Dish
Carefully, top chicken breasts with toasted panko.
Return pan to oven and toast, 1-2 minutes.
Plate as pictured on front of card, garnishing with remaining parsley. Bon appétit!