Chicken Filets and Eggplant en Tomato Crème
I learned the veal version of today's recipe while working in a Northern Italian restaurant several years ago. I asked a few chefs at the restaurant about why the name "Sophia" was given to this entrée. All of the chefs drew a blank. In fact, none of the chefs recalled whether this was a regional Italian entrée or if it was a chef's creation that honored the famous movie star, Sophia Loren. More than likely, the chef's creation guess was the safe bet.Very few traditional formal fine dining restaurants offer chicken on the menu, because wild game bird entrées are much classier. For the most part, chicken historically is considered to be peasant food, so it is rarely featured on the top spot of a classic fine dining menu, if it is offered at all.
Veal tends to be a food item that is used to showcase refined sauces in a fine dining restaurant. Some of the greatest classic French and Italian sauces ever made were designed for veal entrées. Back in the 1980's, many chefs adapted classic veal sauces for seafood and poultry recipes. Cotolette di Vitello Sophia is a good example of a veal recipe that can readily be adapted to chicken. The only difference is the choice of meat.
Filetti Di Pollo Sophia:
This recipe yields 1 entrée.
Just like with many classic Italian sauté entrées, this entire recipe is prepared in one pan.
Step 1: Trim the fat off of a large 8 ounce chicken breast filet.
Butterfly cut the chicken breast open.
Cut the butterflied chicken breast into 2 thin filets that are the same size.
Step 2: Cut the skin off of an eggplant.
Cut 2 large eggplant medallions that are 1" thick. (Save any extra eggplant for another recipe.)
Step 3: Whisk 3 large eggs in a mixing bowl till they blended.
Set the egg wash aside.
Step 4: Lightly season the eggplant and chicken filets with sea salt and white pepper.
Dredge the chicken breast filets and eggplant medallions in flour.
Dip the chicken and eggplant in the egg wash.
Dredge the chicken filets and eggplant medallions in flour a second time.
Step 5: Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
Add 3 tablespoons of pomace olive oil.
Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Place the coated chicken breast filets and eggplant medallions side by side in the pan.
Sauté till the coating is a light golden color before flipping the chicken and eggplant.
Sauté till the chicken and eggplant is almost fully cooked and the coating is a light golden brown color. Be sure to flip the chicken and eggplant a few times, so they cook evenly.
Step 6: Remove the pan from the heat.
Remove the chicken and eggplant from the pan and set them aside on a platter.
Pour the spent oil out of the pan.
Step 7: Return the sauté pan to medium/medium low heat.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of pomace olive oil.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
Sauté till the garlic turns a golden color.
Step 8: Return the chicken and eggplant to the sauté pan.
Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
Lightly season with sea salt and white pepper.
Step 9: Simmer and reduce till the volume of the sauce is about 1/3 cup.
*Be sure to flip the eggplant and chicken occasionally, so they do not brown.
Step 10: Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Add 1/4 cup of milk.
Add 1 cup of cream.
Swirl the pan so the sauce ingredients blend.
Step 11: Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that easily clings to the chicken and eggplant.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the 2 chicken filets on the front half of a plate.
Place the 2 eggplant medallions on top of the chicken filets.
Pour a generous amount of the sauce over the eggplant and chicken.
Serve with vegetables of your choice.
*Buttered sliced carrots and oven roasted red bliss potatoes accompany the entrée in the photos.
Filetti Di Pollo Sophia has a delicate flavor that appeals to the ladies!