My father is not very good at languages. It’s a well-known and oft joked about fact in our family. Sometimes he’ll grace us with his rendition of instructions written in different languages. Where some people are tone-deaf, my father is “accent-deaf,” and he speaks everything in a hopeless American accent that would make a native-speaker of the other language cringe. We find it hysterical. If it’s a matter of repeating what someone else has told him, he has better luck, sort of.
My mother is a bit better. For all her love of languages, there are often times where she will repeat a single word over and over trying different accents and emphases. It can be humorous, though after several attempts one begins to wonder if she merely enjoys hearing the sound of her own voice. Lovely as her voice is, one word stuck on loop can be a bit daunting at times.
I do not claim to be much better than either of my parents, though I have dabbled in many languages. When I was a child I suppose my mother had grand ambitions that I would be multi-lingual and I often took “summer camp” classes in one of the romance languages, or even classes before school started when I was in elementary school. I even remember taking mother-daughter courses in Spanish at some point. In 3rd grade our French class prepared a Mother’s Day breakfast, complete with “French” menus and a very terrible rendition on our part of “Frère Jacques” and “Allouette.”
However, there was a fatal flaw in my mother’s plan in raising a multi-lingual child: until middle school, I was never enrolled in the same language for more than a year. Kind of makes grasping the language a bit difficult. I do however, have a slightly better ear for them than either of my parents, and picked up Spanish in school with relative ease (despite my loathing for language by my Senior year).
I am now a professed Francophile and have the rudimentary skills to understand the language, and stumble through a sentence or two. Though I annoyed all of my professors to no end when I would substitute a Spanish word for a French one when I was at a loss. I just supposed that as long as it wasn’t an English word how upset could they be? Apparently, very upset. I always promise myself I will take classes again when I have the time and money, funny how both of those things get away from you so quickly these days.
Right after a hectic, though very charming, Labor Day weekend and before another big trip for a wedding in Rhode Island, The BF sent me a text reading, “can you make chicken cord on blue in the near future?” I was having a bit of a rough go of it that day and I can honestly say that the text nearly made me laugh out loud. The BF is very much like my father when it comes to languages. I had to smile at his attempted French and promised I would make him “chicken cord on blue.”
Chicken Cord on Blue (Cordon Bleu)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thick, or buy the thinly sliced variety
1/4 pound of not too thinly sliced prosciutto
1/2 cup thinly sliced Gruyère cheese
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a small casserole dish with cooking spray.
Lay out your mis-en-place (ah, see the French skillz I have?) by arranging a cutting board in front of you for the chicken breasts, and laying the prosciutto and cheese on the table behind it, within easy reach.
Carefully pound the chicken breast thin (you can use a meat mallet or a hefty rolling-pin, or even a bottle of wine) if you didn’t buy the thin sliced one. Lay out one chicken breast on the cutting board with the cut side (scraggly looking side) up. Lay a few slices of cheese on top and cover with 1 slice of prosciutto (if it’s big and long) or two if it doesn’t cover the entire breast. Roll up from short side to short side and lay seam side down in the casserole dish. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
Once they are arranged in the baking pan, season with salt (I used kosher) and black pepper and sprinkle the bread crumbs over top. Bake 25-30 minutes until tops are golden, cheese has bubbled out the edges and the meat is cooked through.