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Chicken Piadine with Baby Spinach



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This is a very exciting recipe!  Not only is the finished product marvelous, but
also the recipe is extraordinarily versatile. You can easily substitute whatever
kind of roasted or grilled meat, fish or seafood you have on hand (or your taste
buds crave). The same goes for the greens – whatever your heart desires. We
think grilled onions would be a welcome addition.
The recipe is also a busy cook’s dream, since the components can be prepared
well in advance – perfect for the weekend cook preparing for a hectic week.
And if those reasons are not enough to get your juices flowing, there is Chef
Chiarello’s lagniappe (you know, extra treat): a marvelous citrus vinaigrette,
from Alain Ducasse to Michael Chiarello to us!  Enjoy…


Chicken Piadine with Baby Spinach
Best of the Best 2000
Editor in Chief Judith Hill, Food & Wine Books,
2000, American Express Publishing Corp.



Tra Vigne Cookbook:
Seasons in the California Wine Country

  by Michael Chiarello, 1999, Chronicle Books, LLC

Serves 6

“Piadine are actually unleavened breads cooked on a stove-top, but I’ve
translated that idea into these addictive sandwiches made with a pizza-
like dough. If you have some dough in the freezer, you can assemble
them out of any manner of ingredients. This sandwich is a great excuse
to make sure you are getting your proper quotient of spinach.”

1 recipe piadine dough (recipe follows)
All-purpose flour for dusting work surface
2 1/4 cups roasted, peeled, and seeded
red bell peppers

3 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Paste
(recipe follows)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
Coarse cornmeal for sprinkling on baking sheets
9 cups loosely packed baby spinach
About 1/2 cup Whole Citrus Vinaigrette
(recipe follows)
1 1/2 cups diced fresh mozzarella
cheese (1/2-inch dice)
3 chicken breast halves, cooked, boned,
and torn into shreds
(see Chef’s Note)

Position the oven racks on the lowest and uppermost rungs of the oven.
Place 2 large baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F.
Divide the dough into 6 balls. Working on a surface free of flour, roll
each ball under your palm. As it rolls, it will stick slightly to the sur-
face, creating tension that helps form a tight, round ball. Dust the work
surface with flour, pat each ball down lightly, dust the tops with flour,
cover with a towel, and let rise for about 15 minutes.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of the roasted peppers, the garlic paste, and salt and pepper to taste in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
Cut the remaining 3/4 cup peppers into long, narrow strips. Set aside.
With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a circle 8 or 9 inches in diameter
and about 1/8 inch thick. Spread each round with about 3 tablespoons
of the red pepper purée, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan and
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven, sprinkle evenly with cornmeal,
and transfer the rounds to the sheets. Bake until slightly underdone (they
will be lightly browned around the edges but still pliable), 8 to 12 minutes.
While the crusts are baking, in a bowl, toss together the spinach, vinaigrette, mozzarella, reserved pepper strips, and chicken. Taste for seasoning. Let
the crusts cool very briefly so they won’t cook the greens when filled.
Transfer the crusts to plates and divide the salad among them. Serve
“open face”. Diners fold their piadine in half.

Chef’s Note:  You can poach, sauté, roast or grill the chicken. We grill
it at the restaurant because that adds the roast flavor. You can also save
time by using purchased rotisserie chicken.

 Piadine Dough

Makes about 2 pounds dough, enough for six 8- or 9-inch piadine

“Perhaps you think that making dough is a bother. But once you work with
this dough, you will want to do it again. It is one of those textures that begs
to be touched, caressed. It feels as smooth and silky as a baby’s bottom.”

1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
About 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
for dusting work surface
1 cup cool water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt

Whisk together the yeast, lukewarm water, and 1/2 cup of the flour in the bowl of a stand miser. Dust the top lightly with flour, cover the bowl with
a tea towel, and leave the sponge to rise until the flour dusting “cracks,” showing the yeast is alive and well, about 20 minutes.
Add 3 cups of the flour, the 1 cup cool water, the olive oil, and the salt.
Start kneading at low speed, then increase the speed to medium as the
flour is incorporated. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to pro-
duce a slightly moist and soft dough. Knead with the dough hook attach-
ment until smooth and silky and the dough adheres to the hook.
Dust the dough lightly with flour and, using a pastry scraper, scrape it
out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly, folding the
dough over on itself. Shape into a ball, flatten slightly, dust lightly with
flour, cover with a towel, and leave to rise on a floured surface (or in
a bowl) until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down, wrap, and freeze for up to 1 month if not using immediately. Defrost and let rise in a large bowl in the refrigerator.
When ready, continue with the Chicken Piadine recipe.

Roasted Garlic Paste

Makes about 1 cup

“For me, this is a kitchen staple. If you like, you can draw off part
of the oil remaining in the baking dish after roasting the garlic to
use separately as a flavored oil.”

1 pound whole garlic heads
1/2 cup pure olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Peel the outermost layers of skin
off the heads of garlic. Cut off the top one-third of the heads to open
the cloves. Save the small pieces of garlic for another use (see Chef’s
Notes). Put the heads, cut sides up, in a small baking dish and pour the
olive oil over them, Season with salt and pepper.
Cover tightly, place in the oven, and roast until about three-fourths
cooked, about 45 minutes. Uncover and return to the oven until the
cloves begin to pop out of their skins and brown, about 15 minutes.
Let cool.
When cool enough to handle easily, squeeze the roasted garlic into a
small bowl. Press against the skins very well to get out all the sweet
roasted garlic you can. Add the oil from the baking dish and mix well
until a paste forms. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator, for up
to 1 week.

Chef’s Notes:  It is hard to have too much roast garlic around. You can roast
the little bits from the tips of the garlic heads. Put them in a separate small
baking container, such as an individual custard cup. Season with salt and
pepper, douse with olive oil, cover, and place in the oven to bake along with
the whole garlic heads. Depending on their size, they will be soft and browned
in about half the time needed for the whole heads. The little pieces make a
good “cook’s snack” while preparing dinner, or can be squeezed into tomato
sauce, into pasta, and so on.

Whole Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves 4

“We use citrus vinaigrette regularly at Tra Vigne and in our Cantinetta. In my opinion, citrus vinaigrettes often disappoint. Here, I use the whole fruit, a trick
I learned from Alain Ducasse, the three-star French chef of Louis XV in Monte
Carlo. [In March 1998, Chef Ducasse became the only chef in our time to possess
six stars. Ed.] It makes a delicious and sunny yellow vinaigrette. When I have it
around, I use it on everything. You can spoon it over a piece of cooked fish, use
it as a dip, or use it to dress a …salad… I prefer to use a juice extractor for this
 recipe, but I have made it successfully in a blender as well.

2 lemons
1/2 navel orange or 1 small orange
1 shallot
1 1/2 cups pure olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Juice the lemons, orange and shallot in a juice extractor. Put the juices
in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil in a slow stream to form an emulsion.
Season with the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Whisk
again, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You should have about 2
cups. Just before serving, place the greens in a salad bowl, add about 1/2
cup vinaigrette, and toss well. Add more to taste and adjust the seasoning.

Variation for blender:

3 lemons
2 small oranges
1 shallot
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups pure olive oil.
Cut off and discard the stem ends of 2 lemons and 1 orange. Cut into
quarters, cut out the core, and deseed. Place in a blender. Squeeze
the juice from the remaining lemon and orange; add to the blender
with the shallot, salt and pepper. Pulse and then blend the fruit until
as smooth as possible. With the machine running, add the olive oil in
a thin, steady stream. The vinaigrette will be thick like a mayonnaise.
If it is too thick, with the machine still on, thin with a little hot
water. Taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
If the vinaigrette separates, return it to the blender and blend until
smooth again. Makes about 3 cups.

More from Chef Michael Chiarello:
Autumn Panzanella
Chicken with Roasted Lemon and
Rosemary Sauce


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