This recipe jumped out at me; the salty chew of proscuitto combined with sweet dates, creamy cheese and chicken sounded enticing. Start to finish, the recipe suggests, should take only 30 minutes; easy elegance without much fuss. I found it in the “Everyday Easy” section of the May issue of Better Homes and Garden Magazine. I was curious how long it will take me – I turned my timer to 30 minutes, put away my laptop and phone, and cooked (for once) without distraction.
I purchased all the ingredients at Plum Market, selecting jumbo Medjool dates, which the gentleman who assisted me at Plum said were the juiciest brand they carried. They also had pre-peeled baby carrots, which had more flavor than those tiny carrots bagged carrots one usually sees.
Plum also carries several types of air-chilled chicken. According to meatpoultry.com, “Air chilling chicken has been a common practice in Europe and Canada for the past 45 years or so, but is only about a decade old in this country. Air-chilling or water-chilling chicken refers to the method used to cool the birds down after they are slaughtered and eviscerated. Water-chilled birds are dipped into ice cold water containing chlorine. Airchilled chickens are cooled down by being moved through a cold air process.”
It’s said since air-chilled chickens don’t depend on ice-water for chilling, they don’t absorb so much excess water, which may contain chlorine. As well, the chicken is juicier and more tender.
I purchased Bell and Evans air-chilled chicken. And yes, even frugal-minded me is willing to pay the extra cost for chicken raised in a humane manner without using antibiotics.
Bell and Evans has an informative web site, which addresses many of my concerns about the chicken processing industry. The site also includes a letter from the president of PETA, “,,,Bell and Evans shows that good business and animal welfare can go hand in hand.”
I tweaked the recipe adding less balsamic (my Fustini balsamic is thick and rich to begin with) and more water. And about that timing. Working at full throttle the dish took me 40 minutes, start to finish. Maybe it was the occasional photo slowing me down, but every extra second was worth the effort. The resulting dish was delicious!