I'm a huge thigh guy. Breasts are okay, but thighs are where my particular fetish lies. So what was I doing with a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my freezer? Why did I even have them? I have no idea. Probably bought them on sale at the market. And not just small, pre-pubescent breasts. These rather gargantuan breasts look like they were the unholy offspring of Anna Nicole Smith (and unlike Ms. Smith, these were all-natural, hormone free breasts). Like pork loin and turkey, chicken breasts are only as good as whatever they get slathered and seasoned with, so what to do with these big naturals? It wasn't that hard to come up with ideas, especially when you hew to the mantra that "Everything is better with cured pork". Large breasts, lovingly wrapped in slices Prosciutto di Parma, a version of poultry lingerie perhaps? So with that somewhat disturbing thought in mind, they still needed something else. For that finishing flavor burst and because what's hidden is always more fun (like lingerie I suppose) I came up with this stuffing, and it worked out exceptionally well, but you could easily sub in any number of equally acceptable flavoring alternatives. Some very quick assembly, a few minutes over the coals, and in well under an hour you can have yourself breasts that would be the envy of more than a few less fortunates!
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Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breasts
an E.D.T. original
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons pine nuts, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmiagiano-Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Six slices of Prosciutto di Parma
1- Start coals in barbeque. Rinse off breasts and pat dry. Take a sharp knife and carefully make pockets in the thick side of breast. Don't slice end to end, make your cut in the middle, then work the tip of your knife blade into the ends to make space there. Season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.
2-Combine next six ingredients and season lightly with salt and pepper. Using your fingers carefully stuff pockets in breasts (breast pockets?!) with stuffing mix. As you can see from the picture, they don't have to be perfectly clean, as the breast gets wrapped in the prosciutto. Of course I'm also not the neatest cook, so you can probably do better.
3-Lay out two slices of prosciutto lengthwise, slightly overlapping them. Lay stuffed breasts in the middle across the grain, and wrap each end of the prosciutto up and over the breast. Repeat with the other breast. Hopefully you'll have a couple of slices of prosciutto leftover, as I did, to enjoy with an icy glass of French rosé while the breasts are cooking!
4-When coals are ready, dump on one side of your grill, and when fire is medium hot, carefully lay wrapped breasts on the grill over the fire. Watch carefully as the melting fat from the prosciutto has an annoying habit of starting fires in the grill. Cook on one side for 6-10 minutes (depending on size of breast), then flip over and cook other side (if one breast is larger than the other, call a plastic surgeon. Hahahaha...um, just kidding. Move the smaller one to the side of the grill off the fire while continuing to cook the larger piece). When chicken is done, transfer to a cutting board and cover lightly with foil. Let rest for ten minutes, then cut across the grain to make 1/2"-3/4" medallions. Arrange attractively on your plate (a side of polenta was lovely, btw), and enjoy!
cooks note: I like the prosciutto sliced slightly thicker than the paper thin slices you usually get. It wraps easier and holds together better. When is the chicken done? That's always a tough question. One website said cook it to 170*. You do that and you'll end up with a bone dry, leather like piece of bird. I would say 140-150*. I didn't stick mine with the instaread, I just used my best judgment and it worked out fine.
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one year ago today @ E.D.T.: a dinner party in three parts. Part one: appetizers!