I think that someday, when I have a disposable income again, I might want to start a retro cookbook collection. It might be out of nostalgia for when I was little and my mom would make casseroles like beans and franks or tuna noodle casserole. It might be due to my fascination with some of the nasty but kitschy sounding combinations of things like sausage and grape jelly. It’s probably so I can figure out how some classics are made and why they’ll always be favorites.
Take chicken cordon bleu for instance. How can you not love it with its breaded exterior and gooey cheesy interior? I remember that it was the one airplane meal that I actually enjoyed, back when airlines served food. But the great thing about classics? Putting a twist on them. In this case, I craved chicken cordon bleu but worked with what I had on hand: tons of sage in the garden, some prosciutto, and some Gruyère cheese.
I pounded two chicken breasts until cutlet thin then layered them with fresh sage, slices of prosciutto, and a pile of grated Gruyère cheese. They then got rolled up into a semi-disturbing football shape. All disturbed feelings went out the window when these got coated in crunchy panko and baked until crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside. Sliced into pinwheels, these looked super impressive despite how easy it was to throw together. Huh… no wonder stuffed chicken is such a classic: it’s delicious, looks fancy enough to please a crowd, yet is made with such simplicity. Who doesn’t love that?
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Between two sheets of plastic wrap, pound chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness. Lay out flattened chicken on separate pieces of plastic wrap. Sprinkle chicken with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Place sage leaves on top of chicken then layer with prosciutto. Sprinkle cheese on top. Using the plastic wrap to help guide you, roll the chicken up tightly then twist the ends of the plastic wrap to seal everything together. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Put flour on a plate, followed by a bowl with the beaten egg, and followed with another plate with the bread crumbs. Season the flour and bread crumbs with salt and pepper, then toss the parsley in the bread crumbs. Take each chicken football and roll in the flour, then dip in the egg, and then roll in the bread crumbs until entirely coated. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the wire racks and spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray to help with browning. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (By the way, don’t be like me and get fooled by the bright pink prosciutto, mistaking that for raw chicken. Make sure you’re actually looking at the chicken part!) Yields 2 entree servings.
CSA Count: 1, unless you count the sides, then 3
Parsley (red skin potatoes, broccoli)
Garden Count: 1