Posted on Aug 12th, 2010 in Food Gold by Elliot Aronow
Chicken breasts get a terrible rap, mostly because mothers and sons everywhere tend to overcook them into dry oblivion. This week we have a solution to that—wrapping these birds up with a “fancy” Italian pork product (seen above), sprinkling in some freshly grated parmesan cheese and adding a bright finish to the whole shebang by throwing in our secret flavor weapon, lemon zest. Let’s hit the test kitchen and show you how to rock these!
Proscuitto Wrapped Chicken with Lemon Zest
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded VERY thin using a meat mallet or heavy ass object. Thin is critical here.
- 6 slices Proscuitto or any thinly sliced salted pork product
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped/microplaned lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, no need for top shelf stuff any decent kind will do
- 1 teaspoon any Italian-ish dry herb you have around (rosemary, oregano and thyme all work great)
1. Using a meat mallet or very heavy pan, pound the chicken very thin. The reason we do this is so the chicken cooks quickly and evenly. A common problem with chicken breasts is that we often sear them so fast that the inside is raw or we overcook them to death in a Lunch Lady Doris fashion. Anyways don’t be shy, make some noise and pound the hell out of your chicken.
2. Score (make small cuts) on one side of chicken breast and season both sides with pepper and just a little bit of salt. The proscuitto and parmesan will be plenty salty so you don’t need to go overboard with seasoning.
3. Using a microplane grate ONLY THE YELLOW or “ZESTY” part of the lemon over each breast. Avoid including the white pith at all costs, it is very bitter and will add a really off taste. If you don’t have a microplane (I’d recommend copping one, they are very cheap and useful) peel the yellow part of a lemon and chop it up to an almost dust-like consistency. You just want the flavor of the lemon here, not the texture of lemon bits.
4. Sprinkle the freshly grated Parmesan on the tops of the breasts. Maybe add a dash more salt if you think the dish needs it but remember the cheese is salty so just take that into account.
5. Wrap the proscuitto around the breasts using approx three strips per breast. This will protect the chicken from drying out and will add a lovely flavor to the end dish.
6. Over medium/high heat, heat up a large skillet with a tablespoon and a half of olive oil for approx 2 minutes or until oil slimmers and moves in wavves.
7. Add the chicken breasts proscuitto side DOWN into the pan and cook for approx 3 minutes for the first side and 2 1/2 minutes on the second. Since we pounded these dudes really thin they should cook very quickly.
8. Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon, some extra cheese or herbs and serve.
Hope you give this a try. It’s a great week night fix when you only have a few things in the house. Also for the record it’s always a good look to have some sorta salty pork in the house. You can flip a million dishes by wrapping them in pork!
Fork The World!