KALE AND PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS

Are you going to run away if I tell you this is a sous-vide recipe? No need, because you can make it on the stove. It will just require a little more hands-on attention so that the meat ends up properly cooked and still tender and juicy. With the sous-vide you can set it, forget it, and concentrate on making your side-dish, as the final preparation of the chicken takes literally minutes.

KALE AND PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 chicken breasts
kale leaves, tough stems removed
prosciutto slices
lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Set the sous-vide to 148F.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, rub a bit of lemon juice all over them. Wrap with kale leaves, then with prosciutto slices.  If using the sous-vide, no need to worry too much about wrapping it all tightly because it will firm up as you seal the packages.  If not using sous-vide, try to wrap as tightly and neatly as possible.

Seal the pieces of in a vacuum-bag and submerge in the water-bath for 2 hours (up to 4 hours will be ok). When the time is up, remove the chicken pieces from the bag, dry them well and sautee quickly both sides in olive oil, preferably using a non-stick skillet. Let it cool briefly and slice to serve.

If not using sous-vide, sear both sides of the chicken in olive oil, also using a non-stick skillet. When both sides are golden brown, add a little chicken stock to the pan, a squirt of lemon juice, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the skillet. Cook until the chicken is done to your liking, it will probably take around 15 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Sous-vide does such a fantastic job for tender meats like chicken breast, and pork tenderloin, it’s truly hard to beat this method of cooking. I sometimes cook a few chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and keep it in the fridge, still vacuum-sealed in the bag. They are ready to use in stir-fries, or curries, anything you feel like it. The first time I made this recipe, I wrapped the kale outside of half of the pieces. It also works, but I prefer the prosciutto outside, it gets a nice texture once you brown it. This recipe is now part of our regular rotation, husband refers to it as “that prosciutto chicken.”  We both loved it!

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ZAKARIAN’S PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREAST

One of the only shows I watch on FoodTV these days is The Kitchen, with Marcela Valladolid, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro,  and the one and only Geoffrey Zakarian. The crowd has great chemistry together, each person bringing something different and fun to the show. Zakarian offers that touch of class and knowledge, sophisticated without ever being obnoxious, a tricky line to negotiate. Recently he shared a recipe with his characteristic signature: elegant, complex, but not overly fussy.  Chicken breasts filled with ricotta,  wrapped in prosciutto, crisped up on the stove top and finished in the oven. A quick pan sauce beautifully crowned the dish, bringing capers to the party. I have a weak spot for capers, in case you did not notice yet…  As I watched him prepare the recipe, I could not stop thinking that the whole thing would be perfect for sous-vide.  And sous-vide was the path I took. It was O.M.G. delicious. With the most enthusiastic happy dance to go with it.  Of course, if you don’t have the Anova gadget, don’t let that stop you.  I give you the exact method used by Zakarian in the show. However, I tell you, the texture of the meat cooked at that magical 141 F for hours… was superb. Superb!

zakarian-chicken-breast

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREAST
(adapted from G. Zakarian)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup (about 60g)  sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (divided)
150g ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
1 large egg yolk
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
9 slices prosciutto
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup (60 mL) Verjus (or white wine)
1/2  cup (120 mL) chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter

If using regular cooking, heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a small knife, make an incision in the top rounded end of a chicken breast, cutting through the center and to the ends without breaking the sides, to form a pocket for the stuffing.

Combine 1/2 cup of the tomatoes, ricotta, walnuts, sage and egg yolk in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Using a spoon (or place the filling into a piping bag without a tip), stuff each chicken breast with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then lay the prosciutto into sheets of three pieces each, and roll around each stuffed breast. Heat the canola oil in a large, ovenproof saute pan until almost smoking. Sear the chicken breasts on the seam side of the prosciutto, then flip and sear the other side.Transfer the whole pan to the hot oven until the center of the chicken registers 160 degrees F, about 15 minutes.

If using sous-vide method: wrap each piece in plastic, then seal in a foodsaver type bag. Submerge in a water bath set to 141 F for 4 hours. When the time is up, remove the meat from the package, dry well and proceed to browning both sides on the stove top.

For both types of cooking, continue to make a pan sauce:  remove the chicken from the pan, add 1/2 cup of the sun-dried tomatoes, capers and shallots and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute to soften the shallots. Add the Verjus to deglaze the pan, the chicken stock and cook until reduced by half, then swirl in the butter. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Slice the chicken and serve with the sauce.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: I had a bit of a tough time filling the chicken. First I tried it as recommended, without a tip in the piping bag, but my bag was too thin, not sturdy enough to force the filling in. I tried with a tip, but the largest one I had was not wide enough and kept plugging with the pieces of walnuts. Since I was going to wrap the pieces with plastic anyway, I ended up cutting a slit around the side, opening the meat like a book, then rolling the prosciutto around. During the sous-vide cooking, it all turned into a perfectly shaped package. If you have a sturdy piping bag, it should work well.

What I love about sous-vide is how flexible you can be with timing. I served this meal for dinner on a super busy Sunday, in which we had no idea when we would be ready to finally sit down to eat. I set the water bath at 3pm and knew that whenever we wanted to have dinner, it would be a matter of 10 minutes to sear the pieces, and make the pan sauce. I had side dishes already made, just waiting to be re-heated. Easy but very impressive dinner.  Meat was perfectly cooked, the prosciutto gets all crusty and salty and tasty. And the sauce… capers are the perfect addition.  Zakarian really knows his way around food, Iron Chef that he is. And his beautiful gray hair only adds to his charm. Partial? Me? You’d think?   😉

About that Verjus: If you don’t have it, use white wine or simply chicken stock.  I am getting more and more fond of its subtle flavor, the way it brings mild acidity to a sauce or dressing.  And, by the way, did you know that a little Verjus mixed with carbonated water is a fantastic drink? Elaine tried it first and raved about it. Some people add sweetener, but we both like it straight. I am very fond of carbonated water with drops of bitters such as Angostura, so I’m not surprised that Verjus pleased me so much.

But, I digress. This is about the Zakarian’s recipe, and you definitely need to try it!  Perfect for a dinner party, you can assemble the chicken before, sear it quickly and bake it. Your guests will be impressed, thinking you slaved away for hours. But truth is, you did not…

prosciutto-wrapped-chicken-breast-from-bewitching-kitchen

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CELEBRATE WEDNESDAY WITH PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED SHRIMP SKEWERS

This is one of those super simple recipes that deliver a ton of flavor, turning a mid-week dinner into a special event.  Since seafood in general doesn’t need to be marinated for a long time, you can do the whole prep after arriving home from work.  But, if you want to make things even easier, make the marinade, clean the shrimp early in the morning, and keep both items in the fridge until showtime.  Since we have the luxury of coming home for lunch every day, that’s when I normally get this type of prep work done.  A small investment of time at noon, and voilà: painless dinner later in the evening.

ProsciuttoShrimp (Cooked: June 4th – Blogged  Oct 1st)

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED SHRIMP SKEWERS
(slightly adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray)

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, white parts finely chopped and green parts thinly sliced on an angle, divided
1 teaspoon Hungarian red pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 jumbo shrimp, tails on and deveined
12 slices prosciutto

Combine the olive oil, scallion whites, red pepper and lemon juice in a medium size bowl. Season the shrimp lightly with salt and pepper, add to the marinade.  Toss to coat, and leave for 30 minutes in the fridge. Wrap each shrimp with a slice of prosciutto and thread onto a metal skewer. If using wood skewers, soak them in water for a few hours.

Grill the shrimp until firm and opaque, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving plate and decorate with sliced scallions, if you like.  I had some fennel fronds in the fridge, that’s what I added.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

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Comments:  The Hungarian pepper I used for this marinade was a gift I mentioned in this post. I love its complex flavor and mild level of heat.  I searched and it is available on amazon.com, but the price made me hyperventilate a little.  Lucky me, I do have very nice friends… Red pepper flakes (or fresh Fresno peppers) can be used instead, of course.

My package of prosciutto came with only 10 slices, so some of the shrimp (I actually cooked 14) went to the grill naked. They did not seem to mind, and we definitely did not mind either.  I grilled those for about 30 seconds less on each side. I also like to use a double skewer, a trick that prevents the shrimp from spinning around and makes flipping a lot easier.

Most recipes would call for bacon instead of prosciutto, but I don’t quite get that.  By the time the bacon is properly cooked, seafood will be severely over-done.  I find that prosciutto works much better, as all you need is to get some grill marks on it, so the timing can agree with the seafood wrapped inside it. Alternatively, if you prefer the flavor of bacon, you can pre-cook before wrapping delicate seafood with it. Check Melissa’s method with a click here.

Our dinner that evening was a nice take on surf-and-turf…  Juicy shrimp, and deliciously grilled hanger steak. Light, flavorful, and a breeze to prepare!  Cannot beat that.

ShrimpDetail

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SECRET RECIPE CLUB: PORTOBELLO CAPS STUFFED WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PROSCIUTTO

servedThe month of March brought a little too much snow and cold to The Little Apple, but we escaped to warmer weather for a week, arriving from Brazil right before the last Monday of the month.  Why is the last Monday of the month so important in the food blogging world?  Well, by now you should  know it’s The Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!  This month, with all our activities and travel, it was a bit of a stretch to participate, but I’m very glad I did.  I was paired with a blog I had not visited before, The Saturday Evening Pot.   The host is a trained chef, and that immediately got the adrenaline pumping in my system as I browsed his site in search of recipes.  He cooks for a family of four: himself, his wife, and two kids, but to make things a lot more interesting they have food sensitivities that need to be taken in account. Not an easy task.  He does so beautifully, though, and in his site you will find extensive nutritional information for all recipes and plenty of advice for adapting recipes in case you face similar issues.  I highly recommend a visit to The Saturday Evening Pot.   It did not take me very long to choose a recipe, because I’ve been thinking of trying stuffed Portobello mushrooms for quite some time.  Great opportunity to go for it, wouldn’t you say?

served2
PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM CAPS STUFFED WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PROSCIUTTO
(from The Saturday Evening Pot)

3-4 large Portobello mushroom caps
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
4-6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
3-4 slices prosciutto

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a small dinner spoon, remove stems from mushroom caps and scrape out brown ribbing on underside of mushroom caps. Lay mushroom caps, stem side up, on sheet pan.  Brush each lightly with olive oil. Bake approximately 10 minutes or until mushroom browns lightly.

While mushrooms are baking, take each slice of prosciutto and cut using a chiffonade pattern.  Set aside.

Remove mushrooms from oven and turn oven setting to broil. Drizzle each mushroom cap with a small amount (approximately 1/4 teaspoon) of balsamic vinegar.  Spread vinegar evenly with the back of a spoon over inside of mushroom cap. Place one slice shredded prosciutto in each mushroom cap and sprinkle goat cheese on top of prosciutto. Place sheet pan under broiler and melt cheese until lightly browned.  Remove and serve immediately.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

cleanprepared

Delicious recipe, we will definitely be making this over and over and over, adding all kinds of goodies on the Portobello base.  My only modification was to use fig balsamic vinegar, but other than that, I followed his recipe to a T. Three mushrooms were more than enough for Phil and I, we even had half of the small one leftover.  We enjoyed them as our main dish, next to a little spaghetti with olive oil and lemon zest.  You may notice there is no salt in the recipe. Both goat cheese and prosciutto can be very salty, particularly when you roast them, so make it as written and see how you like it.  I love salt, but did not miss it.  For a full vegetarian version, sun-dried tomatoes could replace the prosciutto, or a mixture of black olives, roasted red bell peppers…  this is a nice basic method to improvise according to your mood.

If you want to see the other recipes made by friends in my group, click on the blue frog that is smiling at you at the bottom of the post.

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GRILLING RIBBONS

We use our outdoor grill pretty much the whole year, as even during the winter we’ll have nice breaks in the weather, with temps reaching the mid 60’s.  Grilling brings a glimpse  of summer into the kitchen, and that is a feeling any Brazilian-American always appreciate!

I found this recipe in a Food and Wine magazine, and the first thing that called my attention was the way it treated the squash:  thinly cut as ribbons, then threaded into skewers.  The photo in the magazine was quite gorgeous, evidently some practice is needed to cut the squash in the perfect thickness and grill them carefully enough to preserve a nice shape.  Let’s say my technique needs to be improved before serving this dish to guests…   But even if you don’t hit the jackpot with your technique, this is a fabulous side dish.  Don’t omit the prosciutto, it is a key component.

GRILLED SQUASH RIBBONS AND PROSCIUTTO WITH MINT DRESSING
(adapted from Food and Wine magazine)

1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + more for brushing veggies
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced lengthwise
2 medium yellow squash, very thinly sliced lengthwise
6 ounces sliced prosciutto

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill, brushing or spraying the grids with a little olive oil.  In a small bowl, combine the lime zest and juice with the mint, and the   olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.Alternately thread the zucchini, yellow squash and prosciutto onto 4 pairs of 12-inch bamboo or metal skewers (soak the bamboo skewers in water to prevent them from burning).  Lightly spray the vegetables and prosciutto with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.Grill the skewers over high heat until the zucchini and yellow squash are lightly charred, maximum of 2 minutes per side. Serve the mint dressing on the side (it is great for salads too).

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:   I suppose the same recipe would work without going through the trouble of making the ribbons, but they do add a lot of charm to the dish.  I wasn’t sure about grilling the prosciutto, as it is a bit dry to start with, but it turned out as a great match for the squash ribbons.  Salty and chewy, it gave that extra bite to the veggies, just like croutons on a Caesar salad. We both loved everything about this recipe, a real winner!

Food & Wine suggests using these veggies + dressing as a “sauce” for pasta.  Simply cook the pasta al dente, and slide the veggies off the skewers, mixing with the pasta while it’s still very hot. Add some of the dressing, adjust the consistency if needed with the pasta cooking water, and voila’:  heaven on a plate!

ONE YEAR AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch
TWO YEARS AGO: Ossobuco Milanese (a GREAT dish!)
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