Chicken and Nutmeg. This is not as nutty a combination as it might seem. One of my favorite cookbooks is Italian Easy by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers. In that book, they present a whole roasted chicken simply seasoned with salt pepper and nutmeg. Yes, nutmeg. And it’s not just them. Many older, more traditional Italian cookbooks include recipes with chicken and nutmeg. Just ‘cuz it’s not that common doesn’t mean it’s not good.
Chicken Breast with Prosciutto
I decided to develop this recipe because let face it, we have all had to stare down about a million chicken breasts in our lives. It’s not uncommon for me to serve chicken breasts two or more times a week. So it’s easy to go into auto-pilot, pull out the garlic and rosemary and call it a day. Or maybe you are like Thomas Keller and believe the very best roast chicken takes nothing more than a bit of salt rained onto the skin with some fresh thyme. These are great ways to simply prepare chicken. I fall back on these combinations more times than I care to admit.
But sometimes I want to see eyebrows raise when I bring a roast chicken to the table. Nutmeg raises eyebrows. The prosciutto and lemon are a nice touch too. They sort of elevate this recipe from just a plain roasted chicken breast to something you could eve serve at a dinner party. The lemon rind gets really brown and its flavor is transformed from the cooking. I love its combination with the nutmeg.
In case you are still not sure I’ll end with this. Chicken tastes warm and comforting especially when roasted with a crackly skin. And if ever there were a spice that tasted “warm” it is most definitely nutmeg. Warm is not just a temperature you know. It’s a mouth-feel and a flavor too. Chicken and nutmeg is a warm flavored mouthful.
serves 2 CLICK here for a printable recipe
- 2 large chicken breast, bone in and skin on
- 4 sli prosciutto
- 4 thinly sliced center pieces of lemon with the rind
- olive oil, as needed
- salt, as needed
- freshly grated nutmeg, as needed
- 1⁄2 c dry white wine
- 1 T unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Loosen the skin on one of the chicken breasts by running your fingers underneath it, leaving it attached at the edges. Wrap one piece of prosciutto around on lemon slice, leaving the rind exposed on one side. It’s okay if it peeks out a little. Gently coax the wrapped lemon under the skin. Repeat with the other chicken breast. Rub both breasts with olive oil and season well with plenty of salt and nutmeg.
Place the chicken, skin side up into a cast iron or ovenproof skillet, large enough to comfortably hold both breasts. Cook for about 30 minutes, until the skin is brown and crisp.
Remove the chicken to a warm plate to rest. Move the skillet with its pan juices to the stove top. Set the heat to medium. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the butter, swirling until melted, then let it cook 2 or 3 minutes to thicken slightly.
Serve the Chicken Breast with Prosciutto sitting in a small puddle of the pan sauce.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD
Chicken Breast with Prosciutto