This is a nice small starter which can be perfect with your wine or beer. This is also from the “Openers
” cookbook. The original name was “Chicken Mosaic Strudel” but I changed it to a more descriptive name. This is somewhat similar to making a sushi roll. Essentially, you put cooked chicken in a creamy cheese sauce then roll in layers of phyllo dough with strips of carrot and asparagus and bake. Again, I did not follow the recipe precisely.
Chicken: I use one large boneless, skinless half breast. I butterfly it to make the thickness even and made 1/4 wide strips. I season it with salt and pepper and cook in a frying pan with olive oil (1 tbs) for several minutes until the chicken is done leaving brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Vegetables: I use pencil asparagus (10-12), hard root end trimmed and blanched. I cut carrot (two medium) into long strips after peeling the skin (1/8 wide) and cook in a salted water until cooked.
Cream sauce: In the same pan in which the chicken was cooked, I add additional olive oil (1 tbs), finely chopped celery (2 stalks), and onion (1/2 medium). I saute for several minutes scraping off the fond left on the bottom of the pan from cooking the chicken, and season with sat and pepper. I add cream (1/4 cup and a bit more) and grated gruyere cheese (about 1/4 cup). After simmering for 5 minutes, this will become a nice thick sauce. Put back the chicken strips and coat them with the sauce and set aside.
Chopped roasted almond: I roast whole almonds (1/4 cup) in a toaster oven (actually my wife did). After they cool to room temperature, I chop them finely using a small bowl food processor. I mix in Japanese panko (3 tbs but any good bread crumbs will do).
Phyllo dough: I use store bought frozen phyllo which is thawed for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
Assembly: I did not take pictures of the most crucial step of rolling. I use kitchen parchment paper on the bottom and put one layer of phyllo, brush melted butter and sprinkle the almond/bread crumb mixture. Repeat this 3 times (or more if you like, see pictures below on the left). Exactly as if making a sushi roll, put the chicken strips coated with sauce, the asparagus and the carrot strips on the end of the phyllo sheets nearest to you. Using the parchment paper as an aid, roll it exactly like making a sushi roll. Brush melted butter all over and set it on the cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil (picture below on the right).
Bake in a 450F oven for 20-25 minutes or until the phyllo is nicely golden. Let it cool down a bit and slice exactly like a sushi roll and serve. This sounds complicated but it is worth it and is a very nice dish. It keeps very well wrapped in parchment paper in the refrigerator for a few days. Even when re-heated the phyllo is nice and crispy. To re-heat, unwrap, slice and warm it up in the toaster oven for few minutes. The only problem with this dish is that it is not dietetic with all the cream, butter, and cheese.