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Caramelized Shallot and Goat Cheese Chicken Cutlet Sandwich
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Caramelized Shallot and Goat Cheese Chicken Cutlet Sandwich

Try to think up something that isn’t based on two or more previous things.

You can’t. You just can’t do it. it’s impossible. Any new idea is built from a combination of two or more previous concepts, things, beliefs. Every invention in human history. When I looked on my Next Food Network Star application last weekend, they asked me what my original ideas were, I had trouble with this because I forgot this rule for a few minutes.

When I remembered it, one of the things I came up with was my infamous Caramelized Shallot and Goat Cheese on Toast Point appetizer. This is my fall-winter pot luck dinner party killer. It’s always the first to go, and I always have the staples on hand for preparation.

When I was working for Petit Louis Bistro in Baltimore, I went to the Charleston Group’s other restaurant Pazo for tapas. One of the tapas I had was caramelized shallots and goat cheese on some type of spanish bread. I didn’t see it on the menu there when I checked, but I remember it being pretty fantastic. I modified this by switching the bread to something more to my liking (a baguette) and called it mine.

Usually, you’d want to see someone push the limits with originality. Simply changing the style of bread on which the flavorful stuff was served might not be your idea of what kind of food should come from a culinary pioneer. I’d been feeling that I wasn’t so daring with my originality until today.

The Caramelized Shallot and Goat Cheese Chicken Cutlet Sandwich is a big win. When you hear the name of the sandwich, you immediately think decadence. I’d done the aforementioned appetizer for the girl I was cooking for tonight and she completely devoured it. This was a going away dinner, so I figured we’d try something new with the flavors she’d loved before. I made this up on the spot in the grocery store. We bought the ingredients (including brown sugar, which I had to buy again) and went back to fire it up.

I’m not really picky about my Olive Oil and Balsamic, but that’s only because I can’t really afford to be at this point. Can anyone tell me if these two brands are any good? I’ve never bought either before.

I’m 100% sure about the quality of Domino, though. This might truly be Brooklyn’s finest:

When I’m making this recipe, I can never tell how many shallots to get, so I just get a few more than what I think I need and it always comes out to be less than what I need because they cook down so thoroughly and you always want to use more than you thought you would when you smell the finished product:

I prefer Progresso Italian Style breadcrumbs. They’re way better. I didn’t buy this, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Always go italian style.

The goat cheese is also a toss up – whatever’s in the store. If you want some herbed goat cheese, go nuts, but I don’t recommend it. Plus, it’s prettier with the regular goat cheese.

No tenderizer, so we improvised on flattening the cutlets:

And another thing I’ve changed about this dish is the butter + olive oil. It used to simply call for olive oil.

I don’t know how you flour your chicken, but I double up a plastic bag from the grocery store and shake. I haven’t found a quicker way to evenly coat a lot of chicken at once. Flour, egg wash, breading, fryer

I don’t know if anyone here is an expert on the egg wash technique, but I think I’ve done enough of these to proclaim myself one. Here’s my video showing everyone how it’s done:

See how awesome I am at this cooking thing? Wicked awesome.

And the shallots, they take an hour to cook on low heat. It isn’t the fastest thing to do, but it’s kinda set it and forget it. You can’t tell this shot from anything you might see on Fear Factor, but once we get smell-o-vision on web pages, you’re going to be loving the pic.

Butter the bread, pop it in the toaster, and it’s a wonderful golden brown:

The finished chicken matches up quite nicely to the same shade:

Cut the chicken, throw the goat cheese on, and voila:

I put some spinach on and took a few shots but I didn’t like my first bite. The sandwich is a bit monochromatic, so I was trying to think of what green I could put on it to pretty it up. I didn’t come to any conclusions before I annihilated my sandwich.

Here’s the recipe:

The Shallots

10 Large Shallots
1/4 stick of butter
3 Tbsb. Olive Oil
Pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Slice the shallots thinly and put aside. Melt the butter with the brown sugar in the saucepan. Add balsamic and olive oil and stir together. Bring to a simmer and add the shallots, sea salt, and cracked pepper. Coat the shallots with the mixture and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until reduced to half.

The Chicken

2 whole chicken breasts
2 Eggs
2 Tbsb half & half
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsb olive oil per cutlet

Pound the chicken to a uniform half inch in thickness. Cut the chicken into 1/2 sandwich sized slices (cutlets). Place two plastic grocery bags inside one another and put the cup of flour and all the chicken in. Shake until the chicken is coated. In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs with the half and half. Place the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Place your olive oil in a large saucepan and heat to medium-high. Coat each cutlet in egg wash, and then in bread crumbs and place them in the saucepan. Pan fry to a golden brown and place on paper towels to dry.

The Sandwich

1/4 cup Shallots
2 Chicken Cutlets
2 oz Goat Cheese
1 Hoagie Roll
1/8 stick of butter

Slice the roll in half and split each half open with your fingers. Butter the bread and toast in an oven. Remove and place a cutlet, 1 oz goat cheese, and 1/2 of the shallots on each half of the sandwich in that order.

This is what it looks like right side up:

I suggest that you eat it upside-down – you want your tongue to get the goat cheese/shallot flavor first!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • chef joanna September 8, 2010, 10:05 am

    I have encountered this phenomenon before. You think you’re creating something new, but when you realize that everything that is food has been eaten, and probably combined with something else, you’re back to square one. White chocolate and puree of celery? it’s been done. Apricot ice cream with bottarga and sesame oil? Had it. Unless you are creating food from a substance that was not previously food, nothing you make is all that original. IMHO that’s how molecular cuisine has captured everyone’s attention. Things that are EDIBLE (but not necessarily FOOD) are mixed with food, and you get something unique. Every cook must strive, therefore, to get the freshest, highest-quality ingredients possible and prepare them to the very point of perfection – not beyond. That’s all you can do.

    • Hagan September 8, 2010, 11:49 am

      I was pumped for WD50 and I asked a bunch of people I was having dinner with last weekend if it was any good. They said it was overhyped and overpriced. Disappointed because I am just a few blocks away!

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