French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake

In my opinion, chicken is one of the tastiest meats in the world. Also, you can do almost any dish with it. You can put it in pasta, paella, or curried dishes. Chicken meat makes for some of the most amazing soups, too. Now when you pair it with something as delectable as tomatoes drenched in olive oil and pretty rice cakes, they sound healthily chic. Well, here is a French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake recipe for those who might be having chicken and risotto cravings out there.  The recipe title alone would make you positively hungry, don’t you think so?

Serves: 4

CHICKEN

4 French breasts of chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp chopped thyme
Salt
Milled peppercorns
As needed, Olive Oil Tomatoes

ROASTED GARLIC EMULSION

1 cup garlic cloves
As needed, Giancarlo’s Brodo
2 Tbsp honey
1 oz butter, unsalted
1/3 cup white wine
2 shallots, minced
1½ cups heavy cream
4–6 Tbsp butter, unsalted, cold
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

RISOTTO CAKES

3 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced and diced
1 cup raw short-grain Italian rice (Vialone Nano)
2½ cups Chicken Brodo, hot
2 Tbsp chopped basil
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
4 Tbsp whole butter, unsalted
4 Tbsp cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
As needed, clarified butter

ASSEMBLY

8 artichoke halves, prepared as in Grilled Sea Bass recipe
1/4 cup petite peas
2 Tbsp whole butter, unsalted
To taste, kosher salt
1/2 tsp minced fresh mint leaves
*Make the risotto cakes at least 3 hours or up
to 1 day before preparing the rest of this dish.

CHICKEN

1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the olive oil, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss to season evenly.

2. Chicken can be roasted or grilled to your liking. I prefer placing the chicken on a rack over a pan and roasting for 6 minutes at 425ºF, then another 8–12 minutes at 325ºF, until the chicken is just done and the juice runs clear. Keep the chicken warm.

ROASTED GARLIC EMULSION

1. Place the garlic in a small pan. Cover to three-quarters depth with the brodo. Add the honey and butter. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the garlic cloves are tender, 10–12 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and reserve the broth.

2. In a saucepan, simmer the wine and shallots until reduced to about 1 oz.

3. Add the garlic cloves to the wine reduction. Add the cream and 2 oz of the reserved broth. Simmer until the liquid is reduced in half.

4. Puree the mixture with a hand blender while slowly adding the cold butter. Do not allow the emulsion to break.

5. Strain the emulsion and season with salt, pepper, and the olive oil.

RISOTTO CAKE

1. Place the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the leek and cook until soft.

2. Add the rice and cook 1–2 minutes. Add half of the brodo, bring to a simmer, and cook slowly until all of the liquid is absorbed.

3. Add the remaining brodo and cook until it is absorbed and the rice is tender but still slightly firm.

4. Fold in the basil, parsley, Asiago, butter, and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on a small pan 1 to 1½ in. in height. Cool in the refrigerator overnight.

5. Cut the chilled rice mixture into the desired shapes. Pan-fry the cakes in clarified butter until golden brown on each side.

ASSEMBLY

1. In a saucepan, take the artichoke halves, peas, butter, and mint along with the remaining reserved broth and cook for 2–3 minutes until items are hot.

2. Place the risotto cake in the middle of the plate. Top with the chicken breast. Around the plate, distribute the peas, artichokes, and tomatoes. Lace the emulsion over the items on the plate from a squeeze bottle, or place spots of sauce around the plate.

Now this recipe is a bit tedious to prepare and would consume a lot of your time, too. To maybe remedy that, I suggest you read the entire French Breast of Chicken with Artichoke, Olive Oil Tomatoes, Peas, Roasted Garlic Emulsion, and Risotto Cake recipe once. That way, you would be able to estimate the work you might need to do. Then, make a list of all the ingredients you might need and make sure you have all of them before you start cooking. Lastly,  follow the recipe as it is written so that there’s less likelihood that you’d bungle the finished product.

Simple French Food by Richard Olney

The book “Simple French Food” has been recently written by one of the most skilful American experts in French cuisine, an enthusiastic advocate of authentic French cooking, Richard Olney. His previously written books include a number of popular paperbacks and hardcovers

on the subject, such as “The French Menu Cookbook”, “Lulu’s Provencal Table: The Exuberant Food and Wine from the Domaine Tempier Vineyard”, “Richard Olney’s French Wine & Food: A Wine Lover’s Cookbook”, “Provence: the Beautiful Cookbook”, and “Ten Vineyard Lunches (Ten Menus Series)”. An accomplished cook, the author of “Simple French Food” is famous well beyond the borders of the USA for his delicious recipes featuring wholesome, healthy meals easily to prepare in any household. One of the best and most accurate reviews of this book belongs to Nika Hazelton from The New York Times: “Simple French Food has the most marvellous French food to appear in print since Elisabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking…. The book’s greatest virtue is that the author…really teaches you to cook French in a way I’ve never seen before. Here you acquire the methods, the tour de main, the tricks that are the heart and essence of French food, unforgettable once acquired in this book because of their logical, well-explained presentation.”

The book is not only a collection of guidelines, kitchen hints, and cooking instructions, it is also an excellent piece of writing that is able to render the appearance, flavour, and taste of delectable French dishes. Olney, unlike many American authors, favours traditional, rich ingredients that give the most authentic taste to cooking. For instance, his recipe of French-style scrambled eggs includes generous amounts of butter and describes a smooth and creamy texture of the ready dish. Another feature of “Richard Olney cuisine” is an emphasis on simple and inexpensive vegetables that he turns by his art into a delight of almost every meal.

This great book is a must-read for every connoisseur of French cuisine. But do not be deceived by the word “simple” on the cover – even the simplest French recipe requires time, effort, and LOVE to be incorporated into cooking. The rewards are worth the effort – lamb shanks with garlic, roasted calf’s liver, Pommes de Terre… you will find there hundreds of exquisite recipes that will transform your kitchen into a culinary temple of the fancy taste from Paris, Provence, and Lyon.

Most readers have given “Simple French Food” 5 stars. Read, cook, and enjoy!