I love Spring. There’s nothing better than a dose of gorgeous sunshine, cherry blossoms in bloom, and the tempting promises of Summer on the way. It’s the perfect time of year to throw open the windows, do some Spring cleaning and celebrate new beginnings. I also love the bountiful selection of fresh seasonal herbs and vegetables that come along with it.
Asparagus is in its prime now, so I wanted to create a light and savory chicken dish to complement it for an easy, healthy weeknight dinner – a twist on classic Chicken Saltimbocca with the addition of some cheesy goodness and bright lemony flavor.
I picked up some fresh lemons, thin chicken breast cutlets at the market along with some Italian Prosciutto, fresh sage and Provolone cheese to stuff them with. To start, I laid out the chicken breasts in a large baking pan and layered the ingredients on top – first a slice of Prosciutto topped with a few sage leaves and thinly sliced cheese. I then folded them over and secured them with toothpicks and seared them in a pan in olive oil to get a nice golden brown crust. Once the chicken breasts were browned, I set them back in the pan, poured the juices on top and finished in the oven for about 15 minutes.
The best part of this dish is the buttery lemon wine sauce for serving. I sliced up some garlic and sautéed it in olive oil for a minute or two, then added some chicken broth, white wine and let it come to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered it down to reduce the sauce, stirred in some lemon juice, a nob of butter and set the sauce aside for drizzling on the chicken later.
While the chicken was roasting in the oven, I blanched the asparagus for a minute or two and then tossed it with sliced garlic, olive oil and sea salt, roasting it for about 10 minutes or so until tender. So easy and soooo good!
Once the chicken and asparagus were done roasting, I served them on a plate and finished them off with the buttery lemon wine sauce. If you want to add a starch to the meal, simply cook up some orzo, pasta or some crusty bread to go with it. You can also use Fontina cheese for a slightly different flavor, or to make it a vegetarian dish, omit the prosciutto and substitute some sautéed mushrooms or spinach and prepare the same way. Keep it light with a side salad and a lemony vinaigrette, and serve with a glass of Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris.
Here’s to Spring and the days leading up to Summer – Bon Appetit!
Prosciutto Sage Provolone Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Garlic Asparagus
- 4-6 chicken breast cutlets
- 4-6 thin slices of Italian Prosciutto
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 4-6 slices of Provolone or Fontina cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced plus 1 clove minced (for sauce)
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris)
- juice from half a lemon, plus 1 tablespoon zest for garnish
- 1 tablespoon butter
- lemon wedges and additional torn sage leaves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread out the chicken cutlets flat in a large baking dish, and season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
- Layer on top of each chicken breast a slice of prosciutto, two sage leaves, and a slice of provolone or fontina cheese, then fold over the chicken in half and secure with a toothpick to secure.
- Heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high and sauté chicken breasts approximately 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Remove the chicken and juices from pan and place back into the baking dish and roast in the oven for another 15 minutes until cooked through. You might want to baste the chicken in its juices once or twice to make sure the chicken doesn’t dry out in the oven.
- Meanwhile, slice 2 cloves of fresh garlic, mince 1 clove and set aside. Trim the ends off the asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water in a large pot for about 1 minute. Drain, place asparagus in a baking dish and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper and sliced garlic. Place in oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes until fork tender and slightly browned (be careful not to overcook or the asparagus will get dark and mushy – aim for tender yet crisp and green).
- In the same sauté pan for the chicken, heat another tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the additional clove of minced garlic for about 1 minute until lightly golden and soft. Add the chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. . Let sauce reduce to about half, then add 1 tablespoon of butter, swirling in to finish the sauce.
- When chicken and asparagus are done roasting, plate them and top off with the lemon butter wine sauce.
- Garnish with lemon wedges, torn sage leaves, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a side of cooked orzo or pasta, crusty bread or a green salad with a lemon vinaigrette and a dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio.
On a recent trip up to Rochester, I had the pleasure of discovering a lovely little Italian place called the Mona Lisa Café. My mother and I stopped in there on a whim one afternoon for a cappuccino, but after entering the café and seeing all the delicious pastries and gelato and enticing smells of amazing food, we decided to stay for lunch instead.
We sat at a table by a large window and enjoyed a glass of wine while perusing the menu. At first we thought we would just split an appetizer, but there were just too many tasty choices on the menu to settle for just one item. We opted for a delicious Italian Panini and their amazing Greens and Beans appetizer made with escarole and cannelloni beans sautéed with heaps of garlic, savory Italian sausage, white wine, olive oil and bread crumbs topped with Parmesan cheese. WOW. Best thing I’ve ever tasted! I loved this dish so much I was inspired to recreate it at home, and my own version of Garlicky Greens and Beans with Sausage I now present to you. Delicioso!
Garlicky Greens and Beans with Sausage
- 2 cups Fingerling potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or chunks
- 1 1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage (may use chicken or turkey sausage if you prefer)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced or chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1 large bunch of greens (I used collards, but you can use spinach, kale, escarole, or mustard/turnip greens)
- 1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
- Crusty bread or garlic bread, for dipping
- Rinse and drain potatoes, cut into quarters or chunks, depending on the size.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook potatoes for about 10-12 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
- At the same time, add 1/2 inch of water to a large saute pan over medium heat. Add sausages to and cover with a lid, simmering for 10 minutes (without turning). Remove the lid, turn sausages over, and cook for another 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
- Meanwhile, measure out your liquids and dry seasonings and set aside.
- Chop the garlic.
- Wash the greens well and drain. Remove and discard the veins and stems, cutting leafy green parts off on either side into 1-inch strips.
- Remove sausages from pan and cut into coin-sized chunks. Drain fat from pan and wipe down.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the same pan and return to medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute while stirring often, for about 1 minute being careful not to burn garlic.
- Add additional 3 tablespoons of oil and start sauteing greens by the handful until they are just starting to wilt.
- Add cannellini beans, sausage, potatoes, broth, water and minced onion; bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
- Remove lid, add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the liquid reduces a little (you can simmer it down longer if you like a thicker stew or add more broth/water if you like a thinner stew).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the Greens and Beans in large bowls topped with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and crusty bread for dipping in the broth.
Substitute sweet Italian sausage with chicken or turkey sausage or omit all together and adjust water/broth down to 2 cups if you prefer a vegetarian dish.
Mona Lisa Cafe uses breadcrumbs and white wine in their dish which I omitted in my version because of the starch from the potatoes and adding a splash of white wine vinegar which gives it a nice tangy flavor to the broth. Feel free to experiment by topping it with toasted breadcrumbs and using some wine in place of the water in my recipe, but you'll need to adjust the amount of liquids down if you omit the potatoes from the dish so it's not too watery/brothy. The consistency should be of a nice light stew with a balance between the meat and vegetables and the broth.
Serve with a dry white Italian wine such as Pinot Grigio and crusty bread for dipping up the broth.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Italian Sausage and Kale Soup
White Bean and Escarole Soup with Meatballs
Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta
All photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyright © 2010-2013 Kristen Hess Styling & Photography and The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute in any way without my expressed permission granted. Thanks!
If you haven’t tried Moroccan Harissa before, listen up. It’s a lovely pepper sauce blend made with chili peppers, bell peppers, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt. That’s it. And it’s totally delicious.
Harissa is a staple of Tunisian and Moroccan cuisine, and it is the central condiment in kitchens in North Africa used as a spread, a dip or drizzled on top of nearly any dish. Versatile as it is, you can pair it with lamb or pork, fish, chicken or beef as a marinade or base for a Moroccan tagine dish. Drizzle some over couscous and grilled vegetables, or use it as a dressing for potatoes or dip some grilled flatbread or pita in it.
I first tried Mina Harissa Pepper Sauce last year when I met owner and creator Mina from Casablanca Foods at the Just Food Conference, and fell in love. They were giving away samples of their red pepper Harissa sauce that came in three different styles (Mild, Medium and Spicy). It had just the right amount of heat, and tons of flavor from the chilies, bell peppers and garlic.
They now have a new flavor made with green chilies and green peppers that is equally delicious with a medium spicy heat and tangy flavor. I was lucky enough to sample some of this new green goodness sauce and created a tasty, fun recipe to go with it – Spiced Moroccan Burgers with Green Harissa, Feta and Mint over Grilled Pita. The burgers are mildly spiced with cumin, ancho chile, onion, garlic and mint, then served over grilled pita and topped with the green harissa sauce, crumbly fresh feta, chopped fresh mint and sun dried tomatoes. They’re super easy to make, and super flavorful with the delicious blend of spices, fresh herbs and ingredients. Enjoy!
Learn more about Mina Harissa
Shop for Mina Harissa products online at Abe’s Market or Amazon.com
Spiced Moroccan Burgers with Green Harissa, Feta and Mint
- SPICED MOROCCAN BURGERS
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons garlic herb infused oil, for basting
- 1/2 cup Mina Harissa Green Harissa Pepper Sauce
- 2-4 sun dried tomatoes, for garnish
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, for garnish
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped for garnish
- Dash of smoked paprika, for garnish
- GRILLED PITA BREAD
- 2-4 pieces of pita or flatbread
- 1-2 tablespoon garlic herb infused oil
- Sea Salt, for garnish
- Smoked paprika, for garnish
- Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef or lamb with the next 8 ingredients (through minced garlic).
- Gently knead the meat mixture together until ingredients are combined, and make 4-6 burger patties in the shape of an oval, brush burger patties with herb infused oil and set aside.
- To make the grilled pita bread: drizzle a tablespoon of herb infused oil on to both sides of the pitas and grill for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned and grill marks appear. Cook each pita separately (depending on the size of your grill pan).
- Remove pita from pan and sprinkle with sea salt and smoked paprika, cover with foil to keep warm while burgers are cooking.
- Add the burger patties to the heated grill pan, and cook approximately 4 minutes on each side (for medium) until grill marks appear and they are cooked according to your liking.
- To serve, place a piece of pita bread on each plate (either whole or broken into two pieces) and place burgers on top of the pita (or in the pita if you prefer).
- Top burgers with sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, green harissa sauce, fresh chopped mint, a dash of smoked paprika, additional salt and pepper if desired, to taste.
All recipes, photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyrighted © 2010-2013 by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute this content in any way without expressed permission from me first. I received a bottle of Mina Harissa Green Harissa Sauce for product sampling. All opinions expressed are my own and this is not a paid advertisement.
Pan-Seared Scallops with Leek, Thyme & Wine Cream Sauce, Lemon-Leek Orzo & Sauteed Garlic Zucchini & Squash
This dish is a special treat I created for a recent audition for a new cooking show for ABC – I decided to create a dish that would not only impress the food judges and producers but also one featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients and irresistible to the tastebuds! Fresh Pan-seared Scallops served in a Leek and Thyme Wine Cream sauce with a side of Orzo (a small rice-shaped pasta) made with Meyer lemon-infused oil, lemon zest, and leeks. Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash is a perfect accompaniment to the scallops and orzo; made with garlic, olive oil, herbs de Provence, and a touch of butter, topped with some Himalayan pink onion sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- 1 tablespoon lemon-infused oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup leeks, trimmed, rinsed, sliced
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- Italian Sea Salt with Lemon, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and leeks and saute for about 5 minutes until soft.
- Add orzo, broth, wine, thyme, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper to taste; mix ingredients together and bring to a boil. Cover and immediately reduce to a simmer on low heat.
- Cook orzo for about 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and stir ingredients together. Pasta should be al dente and will be an opaque color when done. (Read the package directions if adjusting quantity to ensure cooking time is correct).
- Set aside, covered, and keep warm. Serve with the Pan-seared Scallops and Leek-Thyme Wine Cream Sauce and Sauteed Zucchini Squash.
Pan-Seared Scallops in Leek & Thyme Wine Cream Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 leek, rinsed, trimmed and sliced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 tablespoon parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 pound jumbo sea scallops
- Kosher or Sea Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Saute garlic and leeks in olive oil over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic.
- Add the wine, chicken broth, parsley and thyme, raise the heat to medium-high and let the liquid thicken and reduce to about half, stirring often (cook about 5-7 minutes until you get desired thickness).
- Stir in the cream, reduce heat to low and let simmer for another minute or so, mixing the sauce well.
- Rinse sea scallops and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the scallops for about 3 minutes on each side, until a golden brown crust forms and scallops are no longer pink (do not turn scallops until each side is done).
- Serve scallops with the Leek and Thyme Wine Cream Sauce garnished with some extra parsley and thyme with the Lemon-Leek Orzo and Sauteed Zucchini (recipes follow). A crisp white wine such as a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc is the recommended pairing for this dish.
Sauteed Garlic and Zucchini Squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 zucchini, sliced and cut in half
- 1 yellow summer squash, sliced and cut in half
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- Himalayan Pink Onion Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.
- Saute garlic for about 1 minute until lightly browned.
- Add zucchini, yellow squash, herbes de Provence, onion salt and black pepper; mix well. Saute for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini and squash are slightly browned and soft.
- Serve as a side dish to the Pan-seared Scallops and Lemon-Leek Orzo.
Grapefruit, Avocado and Fennel Salad
I found a delicious recipe for a Grapefruit, Avocado and Fennel Salad that I had to make – it’s a fresh combination of healthy grapefruit, avocados and fennel with a light, tangy Asian Citrus dressing made with fruit juice, honey, olive and sesame oil and a little bit of onion and mustard. The original recipe called for a pound of fennel, but I switched it up by adding sliced celery and fresh salad mix (any lettuce will do but I used an Italian Romaine, green leaf and cabbage mix). I also added some some fresh grapefruit juice into the dressing and topped the salad with some sliced toasted almonds for some nutty flavor and crunch. You could also throw in some sesame seeds or sunflower seeds which would be great too. The original recipe called for twice the amount of dressing which I cut in half, and I recommend tossing the dressing on at the end instead of all together with the salad, to avoid any mushiness and to keep the veggies fresh and crunchy. If you want to double the dressing recipe below, use half of it as a marinade for some grilled chicken or shrimp and toss either of those into the salad for a full meal. Light, tangy, refreshing and delicious! Perfect summer salad – enjoy.
Grapefruit, Avocado & Fennel Salad
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon Vidalia onion, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 large pink grapefruits, sectioned
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into paper-thin slices
- 2 celery stalks, cut into thin slices
- 1 large avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into thin slices
- 1 bag of fresh salad mix
- 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- To make the dressing: whisk together all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- To make the salad: cut the grapefruits in half, and cut around the edge and in between the pith, peel and cut out the wedges, removing all pith and peel. Trim the top and bottom off of the fennel bulb, remove the core and cut into paper thin slices. Cut celery into thin slices. Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Cut thin slices and remove the outer skin.
- Toss salad mix into a large salad bowl, and add grapefruit wedges, fennel and celery slices and add dressing, tossing to coat. Top the salad with avocado slices and sliced toasted almonds and salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe inspired by and adapted from Epicurious