Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lamb Prosciutto & Blue Cheese Cream sauce

I created this dish to show case my Lamb Prosciutto. It's a very easy cream sauce to make.  This is not exactly a recipe but more about using some culinary techniques to create a sauce.  First let me talk about the Prosciutto a bit.  This Lamb Prosciutto has such a bold flavor that it had to be paired with something of equal boldness.  

Before I get to in-dept with this blogger post I wanted to let you know in advance that I left out some details.  I am hoping that the reader has some basic culinary skills.  So if you are looking for a comprehensive recipe stop and read no further.  If you have some skills and want to have some fun keep reading. 

I had to choose something that could stand up to the Lamb but not over shadow it. I chose Blue cheese. Blue cheese was the perfect compliment to the Lamb. OK, now that I have chosen blue cheese what else goes well with the Lamb.   

I have never sat down and talked with anyone about how they develop a dish. I am exploring new ways to express my self when it comes to my food passion. Writing down how I create a dish is very new to me. Everyone has their own style. So if you are still interested keep reading because this is my favorite things to do.....CREATE. 

This is what I do. I think about the
main ingredient and what would go well with it. In this case it was the Lamb.  What goes well with Lamb Prosciutto? I know, it's blue cheese. Blue cheese and What?  Ahhhh, it's gotta be a pasta and a cream sauce. How do you go about making a sauce? There many ways of making sauces. Is it an Emulsified sauce, not exactly?  

Nope....Stock based? Getting closer. Everything is better with cream and butter. I love Ports, Tawny's and Marsala wine too. Can I incorporate them all? Nope but maybe one of them.  

Do I need another protein to complement the Lamb Prosciutto? Yes I do. I chose Chicken Breasts. Ahh my creative juices are flaring.  

How can I incorporate Grey Poupon? Everyone knows that mustard is a powerful emulsifier and I want to use it. How to incorporate it though. 
Gotta have Roasted pine nuts. Pine nuts provide texture and flavor to the sauce. Place Pine nuts in fry pan, roast for 3 minutes until color forms...DONE. 

I love mushrooms for their texture and flavor so I incorporated them too.  

Sun-dried tomatoes were an obvious choice for their color and complex flavors.
Ahhh. Shallots were an obvious. There are simply sublime and scrumptious. I chose them for their mild flavor.

How to put it all together? 

First dry off your chicken breast with a paper towel and make sure their somewhat dry. With a dry exterior a crust forms quickly, thus flavor is produced. If you are curious this is called the maillard reaction. Salt and pepper breast and fry quickly in olive oil. They only need to be cooked about 70% through at this point. Set aside. 

Add some more olive oil and saute mushrooms for a few minutes. Than add your chopped shallots and do the same. Puree your sun-dried tomatoes or chop them fine and add them to the pan. Saute everything for a few minutes
until soft and fragrant. You can actually smell everything coming together. 
Deglaze  your pan with a Tawny (choose what every you want) about 1 cup. Reduce for a 2 minutes or so.  Add a cup of chicken stock. Reduce sauce for several minutes or until flavors have intensified. Yes taste your sauce. Adjust the seasoning. BTW- as I am adding the other ingredients to the pan I am adding salt and pepper. This is called layering your seasonings.  

After sauce had reduced to my
satisfaction I taste and adjust. I now continue to build my sauce. I add about two cups of cream and bring to a simmer. Again I am evaluating the viscosity of the sauce and flavors. I add some butter for flavor and to give it a sheen. Hmm almost perfect!!! Dang I forgot the Asparagus tips. This would have been a great addition Color and flavor all in one vegetable. I wish I would have thought of these two hours ago.   

Slice up the the Chicken breast while sauce is reducing. You will be using these right at the end. Have your Blue cheese standing by too. And have your Parsley chopped up to. 

Start adding your blue Cheese to the sauce. I ended up adding a whole wedge to my sauce. Probably about a cups worth.  

After you have incorporated all the cheese into the sauce add about 1-2 TBL's of Dijon mustard. This will really kick the sauce into the next realm.  

You don't want too much of a Dijon mustard taste just a hint in the background when you taste it so it's almost unrecognizable.