Last night I was hunting around for something to do with a couple of chicken breasts and so I rummaged in the back of the fridge. I usually look for inspiration for a new dish in the supermarket and actually find it in the back of my fridge. (Sometimes I find an article that is the opposite of inspiring, but that is another story...) Last night, the inspiration came from the leftover food from our raclette dinner. What if I combined the elements of a raclette in one dish? My first thought was to stuff the chicken breasts with meat and cheese and coat the package with bread crumbs. However, I usually try to reserve the really unhealthy meals for days when we have guests. (It's not that I want to make my friends fat, but if I'm going to consume a gazillion calories and double my cholesterol level, I want it to be a fancy dinner and I want to share!)
In the end, I found a quick and relatively healthy alternative. It sounds like a lot of work, but actually took about twenty minutes to prepare from inspiration to first bite!
2 chicken breasts
2 slices of Savoyard or other raw ham (an Italian ham would work, but don't waste proscuitto on this as it's delicate and so good on its own! Bacon would also work, but you would be edging back towards the unhealthy side of the scale)
4 thick slices of raclette (you could substitute comté, beaufort, tomme or gruyère in a pinch: the more flavour the better, though)
Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them with a little dried sage. Place them on a hot grill pan. While they start cooking, get out your ham and cheese and prepare any vegetables you want to serve with the chicken. (In my case, I chose steamed broccoli, mmmm...) Turn over the breasts and cook the other side. If you get impatient (as I did) you can split them open and cook the inside more quickly. When they are almost cooked through, remove them from the pan, wrap each one in a slice of ham and return to the pan. Cook quickly on each side until the ham is cooked through. (I didn't put the ham on from the start because I was afraid it would overcook before the chicken was done.)
Turn on the grill or broiler of your oven. Place two slices of cheese on each of the breasts and slide under the heat. It should only take about five minutes for the cheese to melt in a lovely pool. Raclette works particularly well on this dish because the cheese melts in a very thick puddle, which sticks to the breast instead of running all over the pan.
Okay, it's not as healthy as a stir fry or a green salad. On the other hand, aside from the cheese there is very little fat in this dish. And let me tell you, it was delicious!