Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken and Sauteed Asparagus and Fennel with Lemon Caper Sauce, Mixed Greens with Shallot Vinaigrette

We are fortunate to have a local prosciutto maker here in Iowa.  La Queceria is based in Norwalk, about 20 minutes from Des Moines, and has garnered much recognition for their US produced Italian specialty.  The pancetta, as well as their other artisan meats, are excellent.

I have said this before, but I have a serious love affair with lemon.  The flavor combination of the salty prosciutto with the tart lemon, and the earthy fennel and asparagus, is a delightful combination for your taste buds.  

Warm Shallot Vinaigrette

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 tbsp. stone ground mustard
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. Cabernet vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until they caramelize, about 15 minutes.  Add the mustard, oil, and vinegar and whisk well until the mixture becomes cohesive.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce

2 tbsp. olive oil
4 chicken breasts, pounded thin
4 ounces prosciutto
salt and pepper
1/4 c. capers
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. chicken stock
zest of one lemon
4 tbsp. butter

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  To prepare the chicken, pound each breast so it is thin and even thickness.  Salt and pepper the inside, place two slices of prosciutto on top of each breast and then roll the breast, securing it with a toothpick if needed.

Heat a large saute pan over medium high with the oil.  Sear the tucked end down first and then sear the other side, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and place in a sheet pan and then cover with foil.  Place in oven and allow to cook for an additional 25 minutes or until done.  Set the pan aside and come back to it when you are ready to finish the sauce.

To finish the sauce, return the pan to medium high heat.  Add the capers and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add 1 cup chicken stock and lemon juice and reduce by half.  Add the zest and the butter, whisking until the butter is incorporated well.  Salt and pepper to taste.  This sauce is a little more tart, so if you want a very mild lemon flavor I would double the chicken stock...however, the point of this sauce is to compliment the other flavors in this dish.

Sauteed Asparagus and Fennel

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 bulbs fennel, core cut halved from the top to the bottom, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 c. fennel leaves, minced

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the fennel and cook until they start to caramelize, about 5 minutes, then add the asparagus.  Reduce the heat to medium and then cook until the are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Add the minced leaves and salt and pepper to taste.

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