Spring theoretically is here, yet we wait for the weather to cooperate. It does not change the fact that over the past couple of weeks and even over the coming weeks, there is somewhere a child or teen on Spring Break. If the weather was warmer, it may be a little easier to keep them occupied.
This past week, my niece was over and I asked her what she was doing for Spring Break, and she didn’t really have any specific plans, so I asked her to join me for a cooking class. She is 17 and didn’t seem so impressed, letting me know she doesn’t really like to cook. I asked her if she liked to eat, and naturally she did – I let her know they go hand in and we signed up for Chicken 101.
Kenia seemed a little unsure at first, but she agreed that chicken was a great way to start, so we set off on our adventure to complete a full meal that included Chicken Saltimbocca (Sautéed Chicken Cutlets with Sage, Prosciutto and Provolone); Arroz con Pollo; Whole Roasted Chicken with Cilantro-Ginger-Lime Butter and Cumin-Roasted Carrots. Chef Rob helped Kenia get comfortable with her knife skills, understand the different cuts of chicken and most importantly, the need to taste as she cooked.
When we sat down to enjoy the meal we had created she took some pics and sent them to her folks – to share what she had created. Before we left we stopped and she picked out a knife and a favorite tool of The Chopping Block, a bench scraper. She even let me know that she would make the Chicken Saltimbocca again at home, and wants to take the Cupcake Bootcamp next. Most importantly what Kenia took away that night was not a mastery of skills, but something much more important: comfort and confidence in the kitchen.
Chicken Saltimbocca (Sautéed Chicken Cutlets with Sage, Prosciutto and Provolone)
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
Salt and pepper to taste
All-purpose flour for dredging
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 thin slices prosciutto
4 sage leaves
4 slices aged provolone cheese
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°.
- Sandwich the chicken breasts between two sheets of parchment paper and using the smooth side of a meat mallet, lightly pound the breasts until they are a uniform thickness.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and lightly dredge through the flour, shaking off any excess.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. Lay the chicken, presentation side down, into the pan and sauté until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Turn the breasts over and top with a slice of prosciutto followed by a sage leaf and a slice of provolone. Continue to cook the chicken on the second side until the breast is cooked through, about 3 to 4 additional minutes and the cheese has just melted.
- Transfer chicken to a platter, cover with foil, and place in the oven to keep warm.
- Heat the same pan over medium heat and discard any fat from the pan. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half of its original volume.
- Pour in the stock and reduce by about half to concentrate the flavors.
- Remove from heat and swirl in the butter and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the platter from the oven and pour the sauce over the chicken.