For some reason, my resident Critic absolutely loved this dish. I thought it was pretty nice but not worthy of raving. He raved. So let me know what you think. Basically it's my attempt to use up the ham from the back of the fridge and simultaneously find a way to solve the "melted cheese oozes out of baked chicken breasts" problem.
It's not low fat.
It's not vegetarian.
It was a no-brainer really...
Chicken Breasts Parma Mozz
2 chicken breasts, flattened with a mallet
several slices of parma ham, with the fatty bits pulled off (a token healthy gesture)
one buffala mozzarella (you won't need it all - serve the remainder with fresh tomatoes)
several leaves of fresh sage
bread crumbs to cover two breasts
a few spoonfuls of flour mixed with some grated Parmesan
pepper, freshly ground
dried sage and oregano
1 beaten egg
I may as well admit from the start that I was a bit distracted when I made this last night. I meant to mix the Parmesan with the bread crumbs and instead tossed it with the flour. Actually, this was probably better anyway as I was trying to get away from the "burned cheese on the bottom of my baking dish" syndrome.
So, first set up your bowls with flour/Parmesan, egg and bread crumbs mixed with dried sage and oregano (a dash of each) and freshly ground pepper.
Cut a thickish slice of mozzarella, place two or three leaves of sage on it and enveloppe it with ham. I wrapped it with criss-crossing pieces of ham, leaving a little space at each end so that there was room for the cheese to spread as it melted. Roll the chicken breast around the ham and cheese package.
At this point, suddenly remember to preheat the oven (200c/375f). Place the pan with some butter and olive oil in the oven (this will melt the butter).
Dredge each breast in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Take the pan out of the oven and place each of the breasts in it. It doesn't really matter which way is up, as you will flip them over halfway through.
My oven has a fan, so it probably cooked a a bit more quickly than most standard ovens would do. I turned them the first time after about 15 minutes and then back again 15 minutes later. Altogether they took about 45 minutes to cook and came out golden brown and crunchy all over.
And he loved it.