Boneless Chicken Filets with Fresh Vegetables

Cooking Tip:

Chicken Breast, flattening: place cold chicken breasts on a sturdy plastic cutting board. Place cutting board on a surface that will handle a “pounding”. (I use a wooden stool in my kitchen.  I’m reluctant to “pound” on my counters.)  “Pound” the chicken breast with a meat mallet until it is flattened.  If you don’t have a meat mallet; then wrap a rolling pen tightly in plastic wrap and “pound” away with it.  Be sure to clean up any “pounding” splatter after all breasts are flat.



1 small to medium eggplant, with no green color showing on the skin Salt
4 small boneless chicken breast filets, pounded flat
Freshly ground black pepper
3 T. Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
1 large fresh tomato, sliced and lightly salted
1 large mild onion, sliced thin and lightly salted
4 T. butter or margarine, divided
½ tsp. basil leaves, crumbled
4 slices sharp Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs

 

Peel eggplant and slice into ½- inch thick slices.  In a large bowl, soak eggplant slices in ice, cold water that has been salted for 15 minutes.  Remove slices from water and drain on paper towels; then pat dry with paper towels.  Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and spray a 3-quart baking dish with oil.  Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and sprinkle evenly with 2 T. of the Parmesan cheese. Place the flattened chicken filets in 4 places in the dish to begin the “towers”.  On top of each chicken filet, place a lightly salted slice of eggplant.  Cover each eggplant slice with a tomato slice, then an onion slice.  Melt 2 T. of the butter or margarine, and pour evenly over the four “towers”; then sprinkle with the basil.  Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove dish from oven and place the cheese slices on each “tower”.  Melt the remaining 2 T. butter or margarine and stir in the Italian bread crumbs.  Put Italian bread crumb mixture on top of cheese.  Finally, sprinkle on the remaining  1 T. of the Parmesan cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for about 8 to10 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and chicken is done.  Slip a spatula under each “tower” to place on a platter or directly on dinner plates.  Serves 4.

 

What a beautiful entrée to serve with a dry, crisp white wine and Andrea Bocelli singing softly in the background.  It reminds me of a day in Venice when Joe and I came out of our apartment and crossed a bridge going to catch a vaporetto on the Grand Canal.  Floating just on the other side of the bridge was an open fruit and vegetable vendor’s boat.  It had every imaginable fresh fruit and vegetable arranged in a mouth-watering display.  The pure colors shimmering and reflecting on the water was a breath-taking site to behold.  Joe, of course, took many pictures.  It is a scene that often pleasantly passes through my mind.  Enjoy Joe’s photo, the Italian Chicken Towers, and your glass or so of vino.   I’ll have to tell you some time later about trying to locate our apartment in Venice.  We were “Babes in Veniceland”!

 

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