A guide to Teesside’s most famous dish the parmo

Food and Drink

Its a question many Teessiders may wonder where does our traditional Teesside dish come from where did it start what’s the story behind the famous parmo ,Teesside’s favourite takeaway ?

As it’s local history month it only seems right to look at the history and origin of Teesside’s most famous food dish the parmo , find out more about the story of the Parmo.

The Origins of the Parmo

The history of the parmo starts not in Teesside but in Italy with the Parmigiana, a shallow fried filling coated in cheese and tomato, then baked in the oven. Most commonly found in southern Italy, the filling wasn’t always a meat one. the earliest recorded parmigiana was made with sliced aubergine.

Although the parmo’s birthplace has been disputed, its origins are widely attributed to post-Second World War in Middlesbrough it believed by many Teessiders to be invented by  Nicos Harris, a chef with the United States Army during the second world war . He was wounded in France, but was brought to the United Kingdom to be treated in a British hospital. Eventually, he moved to Middlesbrough and opened a restaurant, The American Grill, on Linthorpe Road, where he created parmo serving first in Middlesbrough in 1958 making the famous Teesside dish over 63 years old the dish was based on parmigiana recipe form Italy. It is believed that he based his speciality on a dish he’d tasted in his childhood in the US in the 1930s.

Dictionary meaning of the word parmo-. “English, regional (North-East). A dish consisting of a fillet of breaded chicken, pork, or other meat that is fried, topped with béchamel sauce and cheese, and then grilled, typically sold as takeaway food.”, mainly for anyone who not from Teesside or ever came across the dish before.

Made of a breadcrumbed and deep-fried fillet of chicken or, less usually, pork, topped with béchamel sauce (béch, to connoisseurs) and cheese.

In recent years the parmo has spread further than the land of the Teesside to become a symbol of the area Teesside and massive part of Teesside culture , the parmo has featured on TV shows such master chefs and Middlesbroughs Steph Mcgovern has spoken has chatted about the parmo on BBC breakfast , the dish was also voted in Britain’s top 20 best takeaways often today Parmo are first thing people think of when they think of Teesside, the parmo is in the blood of most who live in Teesside.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

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