Preparation time: 45 min.
Petti di Pollo Ripieno di Spinaci makes for a stylish main course for a dinner party. Don’t be discouraged by the several stages involved in the preparation. The dish can be made ahead giving you time to enjoy your guests and get the “bravo” at dinner time.
- 1 lb (450 g) fresh spinach leaves, washed and run dry in a colander
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp minced shallots
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 medium chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 lbs (675 g), skin, fat, and sinews removed
- 6 Tbsp flour for dredging
- egg wash (2 eggs, beaten with 2 Tbsp of water)
- 1 cup (225 g) breadcrumbs
- extra Parmesan cheese (optional)
- olive oil for frying
Heat butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the minced shallots and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until shallots begin to soften. Add spinach leaves and continue sautéing until any excess liquid has evaporated from saucepan. Set aside to cool a bit.
Transfer spinach-shallot mix to food processor or mill. Add chopped sage, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese. Process into a purée. Taste for salt and pepper. Set aside.
Remove the small fillet attached to the main portion of the chicken breast and set aside. Save it for another use. Cut each breast lengthwise down to the center being careful not to split completely. Place the split chicken breasts on a flat board and pound them gently with a flat mallet to broaden each breast piece taking care not to break through the flesh. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place equal amounts of spinach purée in the center of each breast and press down. Remove any excess filling oozing out from the center of the breasts. Close each breast with toothpicks or kitchen twine. Set aside.
Prepare 3 plates. One with flour, one the egg wash and the last one with bread crumbs. First, dredge the chicken breasts in the flour. Shake off excess flour. Follow by running the breasts through the egg wash and lastly the bread crumbs. Pat crumbs to the breasts to help adherence. Set aside.
Preheat oven 350°F (175°C).
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté chicken breasts until golden brown on all sides. Set aside on a baking sheet.
Bake chicken breasts for about 25 minutes. Just before serving slice each breast crosswise and serve it with lemon slices and extra Parmesan cheese.