Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rolling Up a Fatty

If there is one complaint about our menu that I am surprised that I never hear it's the lack of an actual chicken dish. Sure we have our Chicken Andouille Sausage Corndogs, but that is really more of an appetizer, though many make a meal out of them. Most restaurants feature an obligatory version or two that are usually more of an afterthought in order to cover all bases; the creativity is instead found in the beef, lamb and fish entrees.

Even I hesitated after the initial menu was laid down, and again at each revision, but I still stand by our unconventional format - not because the menu doesn't warrant it, but in order to allow myself infinite variations to present as specials.

Chicken is a blank slate - perhaps not the independent flavor that its ancestors or relatives have, but it is its neutrality that allows it to shine with the right ingredients. Now I am able to use chicken as a fulcrum to balance between fall and winter dishes to create something that is rich and hearty, yet light on the palate.

With such great local pears available I initially thought of pairing them with cheese along with dried fruit and nuts (kind of like what you would find on a cheese plate), so I pounded out fat chicken breasts into thin cutlets and stuffed them with roasted Bosc pears, dried currants and chopped pecans. Once they were rolled up, I breaded them with Japanese breadcrumbs and fried them to order.

For the sauce I went with Gorgonzola, a mild blue cheese, pureed with half and half and corn starch to thicken it and give it that rich texture of cream without all of the heaviness. As another seasonal touch I lightly roasted spaghetti squash just enough to cull its strands and form pancakes that were dredged in rice flour and pan-fried until crispy and golden brown. Since the dish had a lot of ingredients that leaned towards the sweet side I finished it with a quick braise of local, bitter greens that consisted of kale, mustard and collard greens, as well as chard.

The funny thing about these entries is that I tend to purposely paint myself into a corner as a personal challenge to see if I can work my way out. It's really just an extension of how we chefs strive to overcome our daily challenges despite any obstacles.

Last week I stated that all drinks this month were going to feature apple as the main ingredient not only to prelude next week's drink special (he, he!), but to propel my mixology skills further and come up with something completely different.

Sure, sometimes I may fail, just like when you push the limits of anything, but then there are the times like these when you stumble onto something great!

After the great success of the fig infused rum in the previous Fig Mai Tai special I used the same liquour in combination with some fresh apple juice from our brunch menu and a splash of club soda (never underestimate the power of seltzer) to shape this fall treat!

Mistakes are bound to happen; it is the sweet surprise when they happen for the better!

With Love,


1 comment:

  1. I am sad I'm already in my PJ's or I would be there, dragging you back to the kitchen to make this DELISH sounding chicken. YUM!

    Can you have a crush on a plate of food? I think I do....