Tuesday, September 16, 2008

chicken asparagus involtino

Involtino is a rolled up piece of meat with stuffing inside, usually cheese and/or vegetable. Again, it is one of those dishes I would normally scoff at as being so last season, overdone and passe. But once again, discovering new combinations of flavors and the importance of freshness and quality brings a tired dish to new life.

Chicken breasts, fresh
asparagus, parma ham, panchetta and pecorino make the base of this amazingly easy to prepare dish. the combination of flavors is so subtle, with no one ingredient overpowering any other. The asparagus serves as a very mild counterpoint to what might otherwise
be a salty and rich roll. After rolling the stuffing in the flattened chicken breast, we tie the roll with a string, dredge it in flour and quickly brown in oil. We bake it in the oven for around 10 minutes just to finish cooking. We also puree a few more asparagus stalks that have been blanched and drizzle this over the cut up rolls.

This, I discovered, makes for an excellent party dish as I can prepare it a day ahead, all the way to browning, stick it in the ref and just bake it the following day. This has also inspired me to try other involtino combinations (we did a salmon involtino in class also). Awakening the senses and teaching it to be more discriminating and sensitive to the subtleties of flavors is a post-Florence lesson worth pursuing. In the post-Florence world, there's no excuse for the ordinary.

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