Teesside has a secret. A culinary creation dreamed and realized right here. It's not available anywhere else. It's largely unknown, unheard of, by anyone outside the area.
Think poutine, think curry, think gyros (aka doner kebabs), think pizza. Think of the food with which one traditionally soaks up booze after a long night on the town. And now add parmo to that list.
"It's great," enthused my cousin Andrew. "It's the perfect thing after about four pints. But I'm pretty sure if someone put it in front of me when I was sober, I'd think they were mad."
So what is it?
Take a chicken breast or pork escalope. Pound it thin, then dip it in egg and coat in breadcrumbs and deep-fry it.
Then top it with bechamel sauce.
Then top that with cheddar cheese (it was originally parmesan, which explains the name).
Then throw under the grill until the cheese melts.
Of course, this is the plain, unadorned version; the local takeout restaurant offers further toppings:
This is usually served with french fries and shredded cabbage.
Naturally, The Boy and I had to be in the correct frame of mind to appreciate the experience. So after a night of open bar at The Swan, we walked, with resonable steadiness, down to Mr. Mimo's (famously known as the workplace for a female delivery driver whose 1989 murder--or rather the non-prosecution of her assailant--led to the overturning of England's 800-year-old double jeopardy law).
But I digress.
After a night of dancing in high heels, the stroll down Station Road (across the train tracks, past the gas station) seemed longer and more uncomfortable than it should have been. So in stockinged feet, across cold pavement and gravel, I made the parmo pilgrimage.
And was it all I had been led to believe?
Oh yeah. Ohhhh yeah.