Oy, what I made last night. Speck e mozzarella involtini di pollo (involtini=rolled, pollo= chicken. Now doesn’t it sound way better in Italian?) It was extraordinary.
Frankie D and I visited his nephew and his family in Milford, PA last weekend. Lovely little town. It reminds me of Cape May. It also happens to be the home of Fretta’s Italian Food Specialties. The tiny store by itself is worth the trip. Drying sausage and sopressatta hanging everywhere, porcetta, scamoza, pancetta, marinara sauce, soups, pastas and more–all either house made or imported. For Frankie D, it’s better than Home Depot.
We bought a bunch of stuff, but two things smacked me in my culinary-brain–speck, and scamorza. Speck is a Tyrolean ham, a kind of super-concentrated proscuitto. Scamorza is smoked mozarella. The play of smoke and spice and sweet begged to be made into an involtini.
Involtini: I filleted the chicken nice and thin, layered the speck, then the cheese, and rolled it up nice and tight. A little egg wash, a dip in bread crumbs, and a quick fry–in olive oil, of course–just to get a crust. I put it in the oven at 375 for about forty minutes. (The Hollandaise sauce, I will admit, came from Trader Joe’s. It’s light and creamy and lemon and I’ve never made a better Hollandaise myself. Note–it would have been just as good without the sauce.)
Potatoes: russets, cubed small. Olive oil, garlic, salt and paprika. Into the oven at 375 for about an hour. Take it out, give it a stir, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss on a little parsley and put it back into the oven for about five minutes.
Broccoli: simple sautee in olive with garlic and salt. Make sure you get a little caramelization going.
I’m a good cook, but I have no technique training. I don’t use recipes. Every night is like an episode of Chopped, without the gross ingredients. From my first pot of sauce (gravy,) my culinary know-how has been the result of a good palate, and trial and error, same as I learned how to mother (sorry, Jamie!) write, and do just about everything I do. Sometimes my attempts end up less than stellar. And sometimes, they’re so far beyond what I ever expected, it balances the failures out. Like this one.