I have to admit, I am a huge fan of Gordon Ramsay. Not so much the cursing, screaming, fiery-tempered Gordon Ramsay that is portrayed by FOX here in the United States. (Even though I watch Hell’s Kitchen regularly…) I much more prefer the all-around passion that Ramsay shows for food; the passion that shows itself in many forms. You don’t see this on FOX, or when you do, it’s a rarity. After all, FOX seems to pride itself on overly dramatic reality TV. You can witness a more well-rounded Ramsay on British television. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and The F Word, which are both available here in the States on BBC America, are excellent; The F Word being my favorite. On The F Word, Ramsay has a group of guests each week that are going to be the brigade in The F Word kitchen. The guests work as a team in the kitchen, with Ramsay as head chef, and serve a 3-course meal to 50 guests. The guests vote as to whether they would pay for each dish. The votes are tallied, and each brigade competes with the brigades from other episodes to see which earns the most votes. That winning brigade earns the opportunity to come back to The F Word at the end of the season to cook again. Of course, Ramsay is still jumping up and down at times, and throwing a bit of foul language around, but the competition is much more real (and entertaining!), in my opinion.
In addition to the competition, Ramsay describes one or two of the dishes being served in detail to the viewers. Escalope of chicken was a dish served on The F Word a few weeks ago. As I was watching, I could feel my mouth watering, so once I wiped the drool, I immediately scrambled to find the recipe online. I was determined to make a gluten-free version of this simple, delectable dish in my own kitchen.
My version turned out to be even simpler than Ramsay’s. I omitted the classic flour-egg-breadcrumbs procedure in favor of simply coating seasoned chicken breasts in a lightly seasoned rice flour. With a quick fry in my cast-iron skillet, they were golden and crisp, and topped with the sauce and cheese, were every bit as wonderful as I had imagined. Ramsay prepares some of the simplest, cleanest flavors, and this tomato sauce is no exception. It was wonderfully summer-y and juicy, pairing well with the richness of the mozzarella and the crisp chicken. Thank you to Gordon Ramsay, as this will become a regular at our house, for as long as the summer tomatoes are available!
For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
salt and black pepper to taste
1 c rice flour
1/2 t Old Bay Seasoning
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Mix the rice flour with the Old Bay Seasoning. Heat a cast iron (or other large) skillet with about a half-inch of olive oil to medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, toss chicken breasts in rice flour to coat. Lay each into the oil, and fry for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove chicken and place on paper towels to drain.
For the tomato sauce:
1 T olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
About a half-pound of cherry tomatoes (I used a mixture of cherry and yellow pear tomatoes), sliced in half
1/2 t dried basil
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 t fresh basil, chopped, to garnish
Heat olive oil in heavy pan or skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes and dried basil. Allow tomatoes to soften, another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5-6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into half-inch slices
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, place each chicken breast, and top with the tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella, and finally the Parmesan. Bake on center rack for about 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and chicken is cooked through. Serve garnished with fresh basil.