Splendor in the Grass

25 Jul

We are all for picnics with lovely, elegant fare. No macaroni salad for us.

With Pimm’s Cups in crystal glasses, vintage biscuit tins and proper silver, we finally got around to those Tommy Bahama-inspired macadamia nut encrusted goat cheese balls drizzled with a sweet soy glaze (Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki).

We also busted out a strawberry salsa (chopped berries, icing sugar, black pepper and fresh basil) to top black pepper Boursin baguette slices.

An ancient (read 1980s) Seventeen magazine recipe called for a surprisingly sophisticated looking breaded stuffed chicken breast with bacon and spinach, served with pasta salad and fresh summer fruit. Still looks great.

But we are also all for cheating with pre-made chicken Cordon Bleu, sliced on the diagonal.

SAVORY PICNIC CHICKEN
from Seventeen Magazine, circa 1986ish
4 slices bacon
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
2 eggs, divided
1/2 c. seasoned croutons, lightly crushed
1 clove garlic
2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned & split
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp. oil

Fry bacon; drain and crumble. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings. Saute onion in bacon drippings until soft. Remove from heat and stir in spinach, one beaten egg, croutons, garlic salt and crumbled bacon.
Place each chicken breat on a sheet of waxed paper. Cover with another sheet of paper and lightly pound each breast until flat (1/2 inch thick).
With a sharp knife, cut a pocket in thick side of each chicken breast. Divide stuffing into four portions. Stuff each breast with spinach mixture and close with wooden pick.
Lightly beat remaining egg. pour into a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Dip each cutlet into beaten egg, then coat with bread crumbs.
Set coated cutlets asside on a plate.

Heat skillet and oil over medium high heat. Add cutlets, cover, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
Turn once, cover and cook for 7 more minutes.
Remove and let cool slightly. Remove toothpicks. Serves two to four.

To make stuffing variation, combine all ingredients. Divide among breasts and stuff. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve chilled.

STUFFING VARIATION:

1/2 lb. fresh spinach, washed & chopped
1/2-1 c. chopped fresh basil
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 lb. ricotta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
3/4 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried

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