Posted by: Hil | October 29, 2009

Cooking After Dark


I have a confession to make.  When I get home after the sun has gone down, I never want to cook anything nice for dinner.  Why, you ask?  Because the lighting is terrible and I hate having ugly pictures of beautiful meals.  Silly, I know.  More times than I would like to admit, I have switched course and cooked something boring on a late night so that I could capture a special meal in proper light.   I’ve been planning this dinner all week, and to my great annoyance, terrible traffic and some  errands delayed me such that dinner wasn’t on the table until it was black outside.  But lack of light or no, I needed a nice meal tonight.  So I made prosciutto wrapped chicken breast, wilted spinach, and toasted whole grain rosemary bread.  I have been in a huge prosciutto phase lately.  I always like to have something rich, salty and expensive to punch up my dishes, and prosciutto is a fun change from cheese.  Normally, I use prosciutto as a garnish or flavor enhancer, but here it takes center stage.  While the dish is fancy looking, it’s very quick to make.

First, wrap each chicken breast in prosciutto slices–two slices seemed to be enough to cover the chicken breasts I had.  If possible, keep all the ends folded under the same side.  It looks prettiest if the prosciutto completely covers the chicken, but if you aren’t used to cooking chicken breasts, it can be helpful to leave the very edge of the thick end uncovered so you can see how the meat is cooking.  Add a little olive oil to a pan (medium heat) and place the chicken breasts in, with the folded side down.  Now don’t touch.  If you try to flip the chicken too quickly, the prosciutto will tear.  If you wait long enough, it will flip cleanly.  The chicken should take about five minutes per side.  Flip and cook on the other side.  Remove the chicken. 


Next, deglaze the pan with wine and scrape up all the bits on the bottom.  Add some baby spinach to the juices and toss lightly, just until it begins to wilt.  Serve alongside the chicken.

Now for dessert:  I have been craving apple pie like you wouldn’t believe, but I’m not much of a pastry chef.  So I tossed some very thinly sliced Granny Apple with cinnamon and brown sugar and baked in an ovenproof ramekin for about 15 minutes at 415 degrees.  I ate it hot with a dab of whipped cream, and it tasted just like apple pie filling. 


Now, I occasionally want whipped cream on top of things, and I always found it very tricky to make a single serve portion of whipped cream.  Plain heavy cream also tastes great on baked apples, but I have discovered a great technique for whipping up a small portion relatively quickly.  Add the cream to the bottom of a mug.  (I used a tablespoon of cream, but using a bit more will make the process much easier.)  Tilt the mug to the side.  Place a fork against the edge of the mug and rapidly run it in a semi-circular motion back and forth against the edge of the mug.  Don’t go back and forth in a straight line or in small circles–this takes forever.  Slide the fork along the curve of the mug and the process will go much quicker.




  1. Great whipped cream tip! The chicken looks delectable.

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