Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I hope I don’t have to say much to convince you (unless you’re vegan) that crispy breaded chicken topped with ham, cheese, and mustardy, vinegary greens is a Good Thing. This is just the type of straightforward but not dumbed-down weeknight recipe I’m always on the lookout for, and as soon as I came across it at Elly Says Opa, I knew it would be a slam-dunk with both me (quick, easy, vegetable included) and A (two kinds of meat in one dish = score). The pan-fried chicken, creamy cheese, and salty pork veer toward luxurious comfort, and but the fresh, peppery arugula reins it back in. It’s basically a meal in itself, main dish and salad rolled into one, although some roasted potatoes on the side definitely wouldn’t hurt anything.

Apparently the original recipe called for Brie, which I do love, but I second this adaptation’s substitution of Fontina, an equally good melter, less unctuous and with a nice nutty flavor that actually has a bit more character than Brie. I made no real changes except that I’m a bit more generous with the arugula (at least on my own servings…why not fill the plate?) and a bit stingier with the panko. The first time I made th

is, I dutifully filled my shallow bowl with 1 cup panko, breaded my chicken, and still had half of it left, now contaminated with raw chicken juice, that I had to throw away. Now I start with 1 cup panko in the bowl and add more as needed midway through the breading process if the level dips too low.

Both A and I thought that it might make this even better if the prosciutto could be warmed somehow. Next time I might try either crisping it up briefly in a separate dry pan before placing it atop the chicken, or adding it right after the cheese and then moving the whole shebang (in my cast-iron skillet) to the oven for a brief stint under the broiler, which would cook the prosciutto and melt the cheese in one fell swoop (but possibly dry out the chicken?). I’ll keep you posted, but don’t wait that long to make this—no matter what, it’s a keeper.

1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces baby arugula
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1-2 cups panko breadcrumbs (start with 1 and add more as needed)
4 chicken breasts (4-5 ounces apiece), pounded to ¼-inch thickness
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
8 thin slices prosciutto

1. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste together in a large bowl. Slowly add 2 tablespoons olive oil while whisking, and mix until emulsified.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and then add the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. While the pan is heating, place the flour, eggs, and panko in three separate shallow bowls. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on each side.

3. Once the butter is melted and sizzling in the pan, dredge a piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into the egg, letting excess drip off, and then dredge both sides in the panko, being sure to coat the chicken completely. Add to the pan and repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Saute chicken until golden brown on one side and then flip and saute until browned and cooked through. During the last minute, place the Fontina on top of the chicken so it begins to melt.

5. Add the arugula to the bowl with the salad dressing and toss to coat. Plate the chicken and top each piece with two slices of prosciutto and one-fourth of the arugula salad.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes
Leftover potential: Decent; for leftover servings, store the arugula, dressing and chicken separately, assembling only when ready to eat.

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