Besides the champagne, baguette, onion soup, bacon quiche, fruit tart and croissants- the French have made popular another wonderful culinary treat- gratinating, or in French: au gratin.
It is a method in which the food is first coated with a creamy sauce which often contains flour, yolk or cheese, so that during thermal processing it thickens- and then is sprinkled with something crunchy like breadcrumbs, or biscuit crumbs or cheese. The goal is to bring it out on the table in a hot plate while the creamy sauce is boiling. Like a literal contrast to the crunchy and gold roasted crumbs, sprinkled over food…
What could you prepare au gratin?
The answer is wonderful, because you can make literally – EVERYTHING! Everything from seafood, to vegetables, potatoes, meat, eggs and any combination of the above. This time, we propose chicken breast in Cajun spice. Cajun is a mix of spices which was “patented” by the first French immigrants to Canada. If you don’t find the blend you can just mix the following powdered spies: chili, celery, garlic, onion, cumin/caraway, thyme, paprika…
250-300 g of chicken breast
200 g of asparagus
60 g of a neutral yellow hard cheese
50 g of prosciutto or smoked pork loin
2 spoons of Moja Kravica butter
40 g of crackers or another type of salty biscuit
2 spoons of grated Parmesan or Pecorino
250 ml of Moja Kravica Kuhinjica neutral cooking cream
Turn on the oven on 180 degrees, with the rack in the middle, until it reaches that temperature. Grease with butter two ceramic soufflé pans 12cm in diameter or another type of baking container, the right size.
Cut the chicken breast in smaller cubes and briefly fry on butter. Near the end, add the Cajun, green pepper, salt and thyme. Move it to a small bowl, then cut the asparagus in small pieces and fry it on a little butter also.
Join the chicken, asparagus, chopped prosciutto and then arrange in the baking pan (or small pans).
Mix the yolk and neutral cream and then season with salt and pepper and add the grated cheese and Parmesan or the finely grated Pecorino. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
Put the crackers in a bag and then break them in smaller pieces with a meat pounder, and the goal is for them to look like bread crumbs. Sprinkle them over the dish and bake in the over for around 20 minutes.
ADVICE: if you don’t find asparagus, a tasty alternative which goes well with the dish are cooked spring peas. You can also use the ones from the can.