You fancy, huh? Asparagus does that. Dresses food right up. This recipe has several steps but simple enough to make on a week night or for weekend guests. It’s an easy crowd pleaser.
4 chicken breasts, butterflied
1 cup chicken broth
3 slices honey whole wheat bread
6-8 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup mozzarella, shredded or thinly sliced
Freshly shaved parmesan cheese for garnish
Pre-heat Oven to 425.
Toss the asparagus in extra virgin olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread out evenly onto a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. You want the asparagus to be tender but not yet fully cooked as you will be placing in oven again. Turn heat on oven down to 375.
Butterfly the chicken breasts evenly, salt and pepper them and set aside.
Using a toaster or toaster oven, toast the 3 slices of bread on high. You want them extra crispy but not burnt. Take the toast out and on a cutting board, chop up the bread into tiny pieces. Rock the knife back and forth while chopping the slices closely. I like the bread crumbs larger as in the dish they are perfect fork stabbing crouton sized. You can also use the pulse button on a blender for a finer mix. A mixed size portion is best. Place bread crumbs in a bowl. Add the grated parmesan cheese and herbs and toss.
Heat medium skillet with 1 tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat. Place mushrooms in the skillet and cook until browned, but not soft, about 6 minutes. Add salt, pepper and thyme to taste. Stir and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Turn pan heat up to medium high.
In a separate bowl, beat one egg with a fork. You will have one bowl with beaten egg, and one bowl with bread crumbs. Take each piece of chicken, dip in beaten egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Place in heated pan. Cook in skillet on each side until golden brown.
In a baking dish, place ¼ cup cooked mushrooms, spread in the center of the pan. Place each browned chicken breast in baking dish next to each other. Place two asparagus over each chicken slice in an ‘X’ shape. Cover each chicken piece with remaining mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
And now for the magic part…smother the top of your chicken, mushrooms and asparagus with shredded mozzarella and shaved parmesan. About one cup but really, is there ever a thing of too much cheese? You can omit the cheese and it will still be a great dish…I just really love cheese.
Pour the chicken stock into the dish around each side of the chicken. Place in oven at 375 degrees for 9-12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Remove, plate and shred on some more parmesan!