Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Parmigiana Chicken Rolls

I decided to get creative yesterday - to make something completely of my own design.  I must say, I was rather pleased with the outcome!  I have a favorite chicken roll recipe that I make every now and again involving fresh sage, Asiago cheese, and a tomato-based sauce (I'm sure it will make an appearance here at some point), so I applied the same "roll" technique with very different ingredients.  

I was thinking along the lines of Cordon Bleu (which brought into play the ham and cheese).  But one of the real reasons I like making a chicken roll is the energy I exert pounding down those chicken breasts.  After a stressful day at work, there's nothing like whacking some meat into submission with a big, heavy, wooden rolling pin.  Very cathartic.  :)

I ended up making more than I had originally intended - but that's only because I opted for cutlets instead of full on breasts (they cook much quicker) - there were just more in the package than I realized.  The first batch I used JUST parmigiana cheese as the outer layer for the chicken rolls - while the second batch had a mixture of cheese and bread crumbs (I nearly ran out of cheese, so with my hands all covered in goop I recruited my husband to get the bread crumbs and help me fluff up the remaining cheese).  Either way, the rolls turned out great.  And I made a lovely mustard sauce that really punched up the flavor - I took some Dijon mustard, thinned it with Sunflower oil, added some honey and pepper and drizzled it over each roll.

And the salad in the background of the photo was intense.  I wanted a chopped salad, of sorts.  Something with lots of ingredients that played well together.  I started with some chopped fennel, then chopped up some cornichon.  Next - chopped pecans, fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced apple and some fennel frond.  I tossed it with a handful of frisee and then a little, sunflower oil, salt & pepper.  I finished it with the segments and juice of a blood orange, and some crumbled Stilton bleu cheese.  Tossed it all together and piled it on each plate.  It sounds a touch insane, but it was really quite delicious!

Chicken Roll ingredients:
4-6 chicken cutlets (or 3-4 breasts), pounded flat
Thinly sliced Virginia ham (2 slices per piece of chicken)
Thinly sliced Swiss cheese
3 eggs, beaten with a little water
Grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
Breadcrumbs (panko - or big cut bread crumbs)
Sunflower oil (or another oil that has a high smoking point)
Kitchen twine

Easiest way to pound flat the chicken breasts is to lay them between 2 layers of wax paper - this prevents splatter.  I use a rolling pin (it's really a big wooden dowel) and pound them down.  They should end up between 1/4 inch - 1/2 inch.  Lay the pounded chicken out, and add the swiss cheese and then the ham on top of each piece.  Roll each piece of chicken up so that the ham & cheese are inside the roll - tie each end with a little kitchen twine.  Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan (I used a good amount, the bottom of the pan was covered) over medium-high heat.  Dredge each roll in flour, then the beaten eggs, then the parmigiana (& breadcrumb mixture - if you want) and drop into the heated oil.  Cook each side for 6-8 minutes.  The roll should become golden and crispy.  And don't worry if some of the cheese starts to crust as well as it heats up, those are some of the best parts of the rolls!  You might need a spatula to help you turn the rolls.  Once cooked on both sides, allow to rest on a paper towel for a minute to drain off any excess oil.

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