Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Rosemary Dust

My friend Ryan made an awesome appetizer for New Year's Eve - prosciutto wrapped scallops. Ryan's a great cook, and if God forbid the economy truly goes tits-up, he and I will open a taco cart. Anyway, you really couldn't ask for anything better with a crisp glass of white wine or champagne than these scallops - they were yummy. And when I took a bite, I knew right away there was more to them than just being wrapped in prosciutto. I asked him and he said the trick was to grind rosemary up in a coffee grinder to make a fine powder and use it to marinate the scallops along with tons of lemon zest and olive oil.

Two weeks later, I tried this trick on chicken as a main dish. And while I think I prefer the flavor combo with the sweet little scallops, it was pretty tasty...and fairly healthy too (btw, the healthy dishes are about to take a hiatus for a while - I'm getting bored!)

Remember - rosemary is one of those herbs that adds incredible flavor in moderation, but get too crazy with it and your dish will taste like a medicine cabinet. I love the trick of making it into a powder because it rids it of its woodiness. Having hefty little leaves, they can be hard to chop finely with even the sharpest of knives.

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Rosemary Dust

4-5 small chicken breasts/cutlets, halved if necessary (you can make as many or as few as you like, but it's best that you have enough that when laid side by side, fill your baking dish - mine was 9 by 9 and this recipe reflects this amount)
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, blitzed to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or mini prep food processor
2 tablespoons olive oil
zest of one lemon

5-6 slices of prosciutto to wrap each piece of chicken (1 per smaller pieces, up to 2 for larger)
1/4 cup pinot grigio

Combine your rosemary, olive oil, and lemon zest in a small cup and dump into a Ziploc bag along with your chicken, smushing around a few times to make sure each piece has made contact with the delicious ointment. Put in the fridge overnight, or at least 6 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 and spray a 9 by 9 baking dish with nonstick spray.

Remove the chicken from the bag and gently pat dry with paper towels (doesn't need to be bone dry, just remove the excess moisture.) Wrap each piece with prosciutto - you want as much of the chicken covered by the pink prosciutto as possible, to flavor it while baking as well as prevent it from drying out.

Lay each wrapped piece of chicken side by side in your baking dish, touching but not overlapping. Pour over your pinot grigio and bake for 20-22 minutes. As you can tell from the pictures, the 'cooked' chicken doesn't look all that different from the pre-cooked, as the prosciutto will not get crispy because the moisture from the wine prevents this. So if you're in doubt, take it out and cut one open to see if the chicken's done...you know how I feel about overcooking chicken and pork - little pieces like this will be as tough as shoe leather!

Tip: Prosciutto is a pain to work with once it becomes a little warm - which only takes a few minutes out of the fridge. I like to stick mine in the freezer for a couple of minutes before wrapping the chicken - it stays together better than way, and I get to remain a lady without having to cuss at it.

1 comment:

tamilyn said...

That sounds nice. Good dinner with a salad and some of that Pinot Grigio back here in MN :)