Ever since I moved into West LA, I made it a point to try and meet as many of my neighbors as I could. You know, just in case, I make a little too much noise after a night of partying, they’re less inclined to call the cops. My one neighbor, Luke, is probably the most hilarious and interesting of them all. Born in Michigan, he moved to LA to pursue a career as an actor. How cliché. He and I run into each other at the oddest times, usually late at night. It’s true, the freaks do come out at night. I’ll be smoking outside and he’ll be walking down the street, usually equipped with a trucker hat and unusual, artery-clogging snacks from 7/11 up the street. We often hangout on the curb, drink beers and talk about important things in life: like women. He had been dating a girl from San Diego and told me that their relationship, sadly, only existed through the phone because of a priority conflict. A few weeks ago, he came by and knocked on my door with a serious look.
“Hey man, what’s up?”
“So you know that SD girl I was telling you about?”
“Well she’s finally coming down to see me and I wanna do something nice for her.”
“I wanna make her dinner at my place.”
“What’s wrong with the 7/11 hot dogs? Haha.”
“%*$# you. Haha.”
“Let’s do it.”
So he came over later that week and I told him we could do a practice run. She liked chicken so I wanted to pick something tasty, yet easy to cook. I didn’t want him to risk burning down his kitchen. I suggested Prosciutto & Cheese Stuffed Chicken with a White wine, shallot sauce served with grilled asparagus (my favorite) and basmati rice from Trader Joe’s.
Most people have a fear in using chicken breasts because of its tendency to taste dry and bland. But if it’s seared in a pan and thrown in the oven, it’s super tender and flavorful. I don’t suggest pan-frying chicken breasts, but if you do, cut them in half so that you get two thin pieces of breast meat. Cut a slit on the side of the breast and stuff it with two pieces of prosciutto and one slice of provolone cheese. Salt and pepper both sides and sear them in a skillet. (Go easy on the salt, the prosciutto and cheese have plenty of sodium as it is.) As soon as it’s browned, flip the breasts and throw it in the oven. 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, and once it’s done, let it sit outside so that the juices are re-distributed.
For the sauce, deglaze the skillet with any kind of white wine and scrape up the flavored bits from the chicken. Add some shallots and butter (garlic if you like), and let the sauce reduce. If you’re impatient like me, just add some flour and use a whisk to dissolve the flour. Add sugar if the sauce is too sour. This dish took no more than an hour to prepare and was pretty good. Most of all, Luke was able to pick it up pretty quickly. Not only did I get free food, I got a six pack for helping him out. I’d say that’s a fair trade.
A few days later, I saw Luke.
“So, how’d it go?”
“It went well.”
“She didn’t throw up right?”
“So you guys had a good time?”
“Yeah we did.”
“So when did she leave?”
A smile quickly formed on his face.
“The next morning.”
I nearly shed a tear in joy.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Posted by e d b m at 12:29 AM