I have lovely memories of my mom’s baked chicken parmesan – we’d come home from elementary school and she’s take seemingly no time in breading chicken cutlets, seasoning them with paprika and spices, and then letting them crisp up in a hot oven. They were always so juicy and deliciously perfect, I never ever questioned why we didn’t have Shake ‘n Bake in our pantry. Mom knew what she was doing (and still does!)
After I got married, my aunt gave me a convection oven as a wedding present and I had to see if the crisping action was all it cracked up to be. I made a riff off of my mom’s baked chicken with dijon and cream replacing the usual parmesan cheese. Then, to make things more complicated, I tricked it out deconstructed cordon bleu style with a slice each of prosciutto and provolone.
When the timer went off and the chicken emerged from the oven, the clouds parted in the heavens and the angels began to sing. It was ever so perfect, with prosciutto like bacon and “everything’s-better-with” melted cheese. J’adore!
I kind of like that Chicken Cordon Bleu has nothing to do with the culinary institute and is rather a cousin of retro throwbacks such as Chicken Kiev and other roulade-style meat dishes. It makes me feel like I need to tease my hair, put on an A-line skirt and play a little Jack Jones “Wives and Lovers” to get in an old skool mood. Ok, not really. But it does make me miss my momma, thinking about all the foods that are meant for family dining. This one is certainly high up on the list.
Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. of cream
1/4 c. of water
1 tbs. of dijon mustard
1 c. of flour
3 tsp. of salt
1 1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
1/4 tsp. of paprika
4 slices of prosciutto
4 slices of provolone (or fontina)
Set up a breading station with two shallow dishes – one with the eggs, cream, water and dijon and the other with the flour, salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Dredge chicken breasts in flour, into the egg and then again in the flour. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and top with a slice of cheese and a few slices of prosciutto. Bake for 35-40 minutes on 350° or until the chicken is cooked through and the prosciutto is crispy and deep rose. Serve.