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.

Basil – an Indispensable Herb of French Cuisine

In many cultures, basil is treated as a sacred herb. In India, it is an object of veneration, which is planted in temples and monastery gardens. It is believed to have a power to cure diseases and kill both mosquitoes and demons thriving in the open air. In ancient Persia and Greece, basil was associated with the world of spirits, and therefore, was often planted on graves. In ancient Rome, the herb was considered a sexual stimulant eaten by lovers to promote the “fire of love” and boost fertility…Today, basil is an important plant of Mediterranean cuisine, and especially it is praised in both French and Italian cooking. The French call basil the “royal plant” – “l’hebre royale”, and there is a good reason for that. In accordance with research, the scent of basil has a salutary effect on people’s disposition and outlook. Brewed into a tea, basil is great for the gastrointestinal tract as it can relieve gas and even combat dysentery. Just like mint, the basil’s closest relative, it is easy to cultivate in a garden or in a pot at home. And, of course, it has a pleasant and unique taste, which makes it an indispensable ingredient for the preparation of many dishes. Especially beautifully does basil go with tomato, fish, and meat dishes.

In French cuisine, basil is one of the most important herbs. Very often, the French put torn basil leaves in salads of sliced tomatoes, lightly seasoned with Celtic sea salt (very healthy unrefined sea salt harvested in France), freshly ground black pepper, and virgin olive oil, and accompanied by crusty baguette. Perhaps the most famous basil dish is pesto – and the French have their own version of pesto, called “pistou”, which is made from garlic, cheese, and pine nut. Pistou can be used as a marinade or a condiment, and it is able to turn humble spaghetti into a true feast! To prepare authentic French spaghetti with pesto, first make pesto by combining together (better with a help of a mortar and a peste, but a food processor will go, too) a bunch of basil, 4 cloves of garlic, a handful of pine nuts, 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of Celtic sea salt. Toss hot spaghetti with the pesto and enjoy with a glass of light dry Chardonnay. Bon appetite! :)

Lobster Cobb Salad

This Lobster Cobb Salad is a good dish for people trying to stay fit. Lobster is rich in protein and essential vitamins while it’s quite low in fat. And aside from the healthy dose of protein from this excellent seafood, you also get vitamin C and fiber from the assorted greens. Moreover, avocado is not only rich in vitamins but also antioxidants. Now, what do you get from the yummy pancetta and  Ricotta cheese? Well, since pancetta is basically just bacon, you get more protein from that, of course. And Ricotta cheese is the same as other cheeses out there, it is rich in calcium and protein. Seriously, this dish is not only a feast for the eyes, but also an excellent dose of healthy living. But don’t just take my word for it. Go ahead and try this recipe out for yourself.

Serves: 4

VANILLA VINAIGRETTE

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
6 oz grapeseed oil
To taste, kosher salt
To taste, freshly ground black pepper

 

SALAD

Two 1¼ -lb lobsters
As needed, Court Bouillon
12 oz mixed greens (baby romaine, Bibb lettuce, frisée)
1 zucchini, small, thinly sliced lengthwise to form ribbons
4 slices pancetta
4 Tbsp fresh ricotta
1 tsp Spice de Cosette
2 eggs, hard-boiled, cut in half
1 avocado, quartered and sliced
4 flatbread pieces
2 vanilla beans, split
2 Tbsp lemon zest

 

VANILLA VINAIGRETTE

1. Combine the vanilla bean and seeds, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Cool and reserve.

2. In a bowl, combine the vanilla syrup, vanilla extract, vinegar,and mustard. Whisk until incorporated.

3. Slowly stream in the oil while whisking continuously to form an emulsion.

4. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper; reserve.

 

SALAD

1. Poach the lobster in the Court Bouillon for 10 minutes. Drain.

2. Remove the lobster meat from the shell and divide it into 4 portions.

3. Divide the lettuce into 4 bunches and wrap with zucchini ribbon.

4. Place the pancetta on a Silpat and cover with another Silpat; place a sheet pan on top, and bake at 350°F until crisp, about 15 minutes.

5. Mix the ricotta with the Spice de Cosette. Form quenelles and place on flatbreads.

6. Place the lettuce bundles in the center of 4 large plates. Arrange the lobster around the bundles and top with egg, avocado, and flatbread. Drizzle 1½ oz Vanilla Vinaigrette over each salad. Garnish each with 1/2 vanilla bean and 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest.

 

This dish would require at least an hour to prepare so you better get all the ingredients bought and laid out to avoid turning that into two hours or more. And make sure you follow the recipe. This may just be a salad, but you still have to follow a process. Now, this scrumptious Lobster Cobb Salad would be great with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. If you ask me, I’d go with the Chardonnay. But then, some people prefer the dry, light-flavored body of Sauvignon Blanc for shellfish. To each his own, I guess. However, if you plan to serve this at a dinner party(and you want to impress guests), I think it would be better if you do a “taste test” first. Buy both bottles of wine to better judge which of the two really goes well with this salad. And invite a friend to do the taste test with you. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, after all. Bon appétit!