Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken With Goat Cheese, Chives and Fried Garlic

The inspiration for this recipe comes from Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen, who pens the food blog, www.sodelushious.com, where she writes in endearing, bawdy fashion about her favorite recipes, eating habits, her abhorrence of exercise, and the challenges of maintaining her (much envied) figure as a self-proclaimed bacon addict.


(Teigen with fiancé John Legend at a cooking class / www.sodelushious.com)

I interned at Sports Illustrated many, many years ago and was often asked what kind of interaction I had with the swimsuit models. I think people envisioned me bumping into Heidi Klum at the vending machine or sharing an elevator with Tyra Banks. Alas, the halls of Sports Illustrated were not filled with long-legged models. They were mostly filled with middle-aged men – and a few college interns, like me, trying not to trip over their own feet.* 

During my time at the magazine, I had the pleasure of meeting an up-and-coming reporter, Jeff Pearlman, who became a lifelong friend and quickly rose in the SI ranks to senior writer.Jeff, author of the New York Times best-selling biography on Walter Payton, once blogged about his week-long experience at an SI swimsuit shoot during the Molly Sims era. Spoiler alert (and unintentionally related to today’s recipe): chicken cutlets were strategically positioned in bikini tops. 

Last year, Teigen blogged at length about eating a primarily low-carb diet in preparation for various swimsuit shoots. This delicious creation appeared in a Shape Magazine article featuring her five favorite low-carb recipes.

The original recipe goes something like this: flatten a chicken breast with a meat tenderizer, spread Boursin cheese on top, add bacon, roll it up, wrap it in prosciutto and bake for approximately an hour.

I love the concept, but after experimenting with the recipe, decided to tweak a few things.

I eliminated the bacon in the middle because it has a soft, rubbery texture after baking. Also, I really wanted to recreate the layers of flavor found in Boursin using fresh ingredients and local cheese. This was accomplished by generously padding the chicken with goat cheese, fresh-from-the-garden chives and fried garlic. I can’t imagine how you could improve this filling except by adding MORE garlic.

The cheese, garlic and chives mingle ever so slightly with the chicken juices while baking, imparting some amazing flavor, and the juices are spooned over the chicken. The prosciutto, meanwhile, gets nice and crispy while it hugs the meat, keeping it tender. Olive-oil drenched cherry tomatoes and shallots roast alongside the chicken, serving as a great accompaniment.

I’m a huge fan of this dish. It plates beautifully. It’s easily adaptable. And it’s relatively simple to prepare but plenty sophisticated.

* Truth be told, I was the only intern pushing up her nerd glasses and stumbling down the halls. During my time at SI, I was surrounded by a talented, ambitious crop of interns/aspiring journalists, who are — no surprise — at the top of their game today.  In no particular order… my former running buddy Aditi Kinkhabwala, sports writer at the Wall Street Journal; Tamer El-Ghobashy, reporter at the Wall Street Journal; and Evan Markfield, Editor at Chapel Hill Magazine.

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