MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Mc., Dec. 28, 2015 – Back in the late 1980s in Denver, they made the best Chicken Florentine. A small restaurant in a strip mall was the place. Since then I have been on a quest to replicate this gift to the palate and have finally succeeded. With the permission of the reader, I will call it “Chicken Florentine Mario.”
- Deboned chicken breasts
- Baby spinach
- Ham or prosciutto
- White cheese
- Bacon strips cooked
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Gravy flour
- Butter and oil
- Cream or half and half
- Chicken bouillon
The breasts need to be pounded to about 3/8” thick. The least messy way is by using a heavy gauge storage bag. Place one or two breast pieces in the bag at the time, zip the bag, place it on a flat surface and pound until achieving the 3/8” thickness goal. Do not use a pounder with sharp surfaces; a rubber mallet works well. In constructing each roll, try to make sure that all ingredients are present in each bite.
Place each thinned breast piece in a flat surface.
- Spread mayonnaise thinly so the breast will not dry up
- Lay a thin piece of ham or prosciutto on it
- Add spinach
- Place a strip of cooked crispy bacon
- Place sun-dried tomatoes sliced length-wise; a little goes a long way
- Add slice of cheese, cutting it so that it does not stick out of the roll (Be judicious with the cheese — you don’t want cheese soup)
- Use string or toothpicks to keep rolls together.
In a large skillet, heat a generous amount of butter and oil (to prevent burning). In the meantime, roll each roll in gravy flour to coat all surfaces.
When the skillet is hot, but not smoking, add each roll. Turn to make sure that all surfaces are golden brown, about five minutes per side depending on the temperature of the butter/oil. After all the surfaces are light golden brown, lower temperature and cover skillet and cook for about 10 minutes or less, not allowing the liquid to leave the rolls or the cheese to spread. You don’t want cheese soup. This will assure that the chicken is cooked through.
Remove rolls and cover to keep warm. Save the dripping in the skillet. You will make a roux/gravy for the rolls.
Increase the temperature, and add about one teaspoon of gravy flour. Mix well to form a smooth roux. Add about ¼ cup of chicken bouillon and stir to keep in suspension. Once it is boiling, decrease the temperature and let the gravy thicken. Add the cream or half and half and stir to blend.
Pour gravy on chicken rolls and serve. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese as an option.
Serve with rice or potatoes and broccoli or green salad.
A nice red wine (Yes I know chicken = white, but this is a hearty chicken) will complement this meal.
Since I started using this recipe, the chicken has been consumed with great relish by all. While it does have butter, mayonnaise, cream, cheese and ham, the amounts are relatively low compared to the white chicken meat. I would put it in Mario’s medium healthy category.
Bet you cannot eat just one.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, enjoys cooking and LOVES eating. He is in Twitter (@chibcharus), Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook (Mario Salazar).