My sister’s wedding is this weekend and I am a little nervous. I am not nervous about the wedding itself (my sister has every detail planned down to perfection). I am nervous because my sister asked me to be one of the photographers. I am absolutely flattered that she would trust me with this task but also extremely worried. Photographing people and photographing food are significantly different in my mind. I don’t do either one professionally and I have way more experience with food. Fortunately, there will be another photographer who will be doing the majority of the shooting. I just have to make it through my dozen photo assignments and then I get to go enjoy a cocktail at the bar. Wish me luck.
So, let us move on to something that does not make me so nervous – like food and, specifically, this stuffed chicken breast with prosciutto, basil, and cheese.
It is like a springtime version of chicken cordon bleu. It is chicken cordon bleu without the sauce and an extra hit of flavor from the fresh basil and prosciutto. Of course, there is still the crunchy coating on the outside. Giving that up would just be crazy. And the last thing anyone needs right now (especially me) is something crazy.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4 slices Prosciutto
- 8 large fresh basil leaves, left whole
- 4 slices mozzarella, Italian fontina, or Swiss cheese
- Flour for dredging (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil for frying
Butterfly and stuff chicken breasts
- Working with 1 breast at a time, butterfly breast half by laying it flat on a cutting board. Holding a sharp knife parallel to the work surface and beginning on a long side, cut breast almost in half horizontally but without cutting all the way through, then open it like a book. Repeat for all the chicken breasts.
- For each breast, spread 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Then lay one slice of prosciutto on one half of the butterflied chicken, tearing prosciutto as necessary to fit. Top with 2 basil leaves and then one slice of cheese, tearing cheese as necessary to fit.
- Fold each chicken breast closed, tucking in filling as necessary, and season with salt and pepper.
- Put the flour in a pie dish or shallow bowl. Put the eggs in another dish and lightly beat. Combine the panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a third dish.
- Dredge 1 stuffed chicken breast in the flour, coating evenly and lightly shaking off the excess. Then dip chicken breast in egg and then dredge it in the bread crumb mixture, coating it evenly and using your fingers to help crumbs adhere. Place on a plate and repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the stuffed and coated breasts and cook until lightly browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn the breasts and brown on the second side, 3 to 4 minutes more, adding more oil as necessary. This may need to be done in batches. Transfer browned chicken to a baking sheet and bake in oven until the chicken is cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately while the coating is crispy and the cheese is gooey.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet, June 1997.