Thursday, May 17, 2007

HHDD #12 - Parmesan Crusted Chicken Caesar Involtini

This round of Hay Hay it's Donna Day is hosted by Katie over at Other People's Food, after her triumph with the Le Kit Cat Mousse in Round #11. Congrats Katie and thanks for picking this rounds challenge of "Caesar Salad".

To be perfectly honest I am not a huge fan of Caesar salad. I may be the only person on earth but I tend to find it bland, claggy and calorie loaded. For those who are not familiar with clag, it is an Australian glue that is non-toxic and paste-like and is usually given to small children for arts projects, but tends to end up in their stomachs, rather than on their art. This is what Caesar Salad conjures up to me, especially here in the US, where it seems to be served at almost every chain restaurant in the country and consists of some limp romaine lettuce, a few stale croutons, some parmesan cheese and a heavy helping of the most calorific dressing you can find. No thanks!

Suffice it say, that when I saw Katie's choice, I was none too pleased. What the heck was I going to do with a Caesar Salad. Clearly my disdain for this dish means that I do not make it at home, so what was a girl to do....especially when she so desperately wanted to contribute to HHDD #12.

So, I wrote down what a Caesar salad was to me...from home in Melbourne, where I must say they are marginally better than what I have found over here....but not by much. Romaine (Cos) lettuce, parmesan, anchovies, egg, croutons, Caesar dressing and sometimes bacon and chicken. Hmm...what to do???

And then it hit me!! I love chicken and even more than that, I love stuffed chicken. Or chicken rolled around yummy, cheesy ingredients. And so the parmesan crusted chicken Caesar involtini was born. This is a chicken rolled around Caesar salad ingredients, roasted and served with a low-fat Caesar dressing.

I made this on a night that hubby was not home, as there is no way I could get him to eat something with anchovies and if the meal was a disaster, I didn't want him to go hungry. So, when he was at class tonight, I got to cooking up my chicken Caesar concoction...and the outcome??

Amazing!! Wow, this was so yummy. The chicken was delicious, with the prosciutto, parmesan cheese and anchovies complementing wonderfully. The low-fat dressing was lovely and tangy and really made the whole dish. I encrusted the chicken in croutons and parmesan that had been processed in the food processor and served it all over a bed of lemon risotto. You could serve it with anything you like...roast veggies would be great and healthy, however for this challenge I wanted to use one of the ingredients in the Caesar salad, and lemon is a big component of Caesar dressing. Everything worked together beautifully and now I wish that hubby had have been here to enjoy it with me. It felt very decadent and something I would be happy to serve to guests.

So, maybe my views on the old Caesar salad were a bit harsh and I may need to revisit this staple found on nearly every restaurant menu. However, I think this take on an old favourite was really something special and I have to thank Katie for making me think outside of the box and come up with something that I would absolutely make again.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Caesar Involtini
(Serves 4)

4 chicken breasts
4 slices of prosciutto
1/2 cup of romaine, chopped
6 anchovies
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
flour for dredging
1 cup of Caesar salad croutons
cooking spray
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 anchovie
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1/2 cup fat free natural yoghurt
2 tbs low fat mayonnaise
1 tbs grated parmesan

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.

2. To make dressing, place ingredients into food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Pound chicken breasts until flattened. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto on each breast, followed by some romaine, anchovies (broken into small pieces and scattered) and grated parmesan cheese. Roll up chicken breast and secure with toothpicks. Process croutons and 1/4 cup grated parmesan in a food processor until it resembles bread crumbs. Dredge chicken roll in flour, then coat in egg. Roll in crouton crumbs and then spray with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes.

4. Remove chicken from oven when cooked through. Cut into slices and serve on a plate with desired side dish and drizzle with dressing.

Lemon risotto: If making lemon risotto, prepare risotto base as usual with onion, arborio rice and chicken stock. Just before serving, stir in the zest of one lemon, juice of one lemon and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.


Barbara said...

That's so clever Brooke. Sounds delicious. Thanks for joining HHDD#12.

Inne said...

Hello Brooke, I felt exactly the same upon finding out the HHDD theme was Caesar salad... But the 'be creative' instruction was great and helpful - and you've sure come up with a delicious-looking, creative take on the Caesar salad.

Culinarily Curious said...

What a wonderful way to turn something that doesn't work for you into something that DOES: Chicken Caesar inside-out. :) Certainly one of the most original and creative interpretations I've seen!