Pine Nut Chicken Cutlets and Cauliflower Au Gratin
For this recipe, if your store does not have a firm fontina cheese, you can substitute Gruyere cheese.
- 1/2 loaf crusty bread or stale white bread, torn into pieces
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1 lemon
- 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- Flour, about 3/4 for dredging chicken plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 large eggs, beaten with a splash of water
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded firm, aged Italian fontina cheese, such as fontina Val d’Aosta*
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- Olive oil for frying
Yields: Serves 4
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Toast bread until golden. Place toasted bread in food processor and add pine nuts. Pulse-grind the bread and nuts into crumbs. Pour crumbs onto plate and combine with thyme and parsley (reserving a sprinkle for cauliflower), half of the grated cheese and zest of 1 lemon. Halve the chicken breasts across and gently pound them out between parchment or plastic wrap. Season the cutlets, 8 pieces in total, with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and reserve.
Heat a couple of inches of water in a covered pot. Trim up the cauliflower and halve when slice into 1 inch thick slices or break into florets. Arrange cauliflower in boiling water and season with salt. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes, then drain the cauliflower and arrange in a small shallow casserole dish.
Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Melt butter, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; thicken for 3-4 minutes. Stir the Fontina cheese and the sage into the sauce and melt, about 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to cover evenly, top with remaining 1/2 cup parmigiano cheese and a sprinkle of parsley. Bake 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Heat 1/2 inch olive oil and shallow fry the cutlets 3-4 on each side in 2 batches. Reserve the cooked cutlets on rack placed over baking sheets. Serve 2 cutlets per person with a wedge of lemon along side and lots of cauliflower as a side dish.
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