Yield: 4 servings

Chicken Cordon Blue has been around a long time. It's simply thin scallops of chicken or veal sandwiched around a thin slice of prosciutto or other ham and Gruyere or Swiss cheese; then the stacked meat and cheese are breaded and cooked until golden. To kick it up a notch, I use De Soto cheese, made by my friends at Chicory Farm in Louisiana, or an Emmental-style cheese, which is a Swiss-style cheese, dotted with holes. But hey, you can use just about anything you want-regular Gruyere and Swiss do just fine. The De Soto is named after De Soto Parish (we have parishes instead of counties in Louisiana) and it's mild and melts very well, which makes it great for this dish. The small, young peas jazz up the rather bland-looking chicken, and the Mornay sauce gives it an extra wallop. This dish is featured on the lunch menu at Delmonico Restaurant and Bar, my new place on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans.

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each), cut in half and pounded into thin scallops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • 8 thin slices De Soto or Emmental-style cheese
  • 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • Essence to taste (see below)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup sweet young peas, fresh or frozen (defrost if frozen)
  • 2 cups hot Mornay sauce (see below)


about 2 1/2 cups

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


about 1 1/2 cups

  • 5 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme

Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and blend well. Store in an airtight container in your spice cabinet for up to 3 months. Heat the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add the flour and whisk to blend. Season with salt and pepper, and add the nutmeg. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then slowly add the milk and whisk to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and , with a wooden spoon, stir constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes. Add the cheese and whisk until it melts completely. Remove from the heat and use warm. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, then reheated on low heat, with a little liquid added if necessary. Season both sides of the chicken scallops with salt and pepper. Place 4 scallops on a clean work surface. Top each with 2 slices of the prosciutto, 2 slices of the cheese, and another chicken scallop. Press each gently but firmly together. Put the flour in a shallow bowl and season with Essence. Combine the eggs and milk in another shallow bowl. Place the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl and season with Essence. Carefully dredge the chicken in the flour, tapping off any excess, then dip it in the egg wash, letting any excess drip off, then dredge it in the bread crumbs, coating evenly. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove carefully and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with Essence. In a small saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the prosciutto strips and peas, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Fold the prosciutto and peas into the Mornay sauce. Spoon the sauce into the center of each serving plate and top with the chicken.

Purchase Emeril's Spice Pack (includes ESSENCE) at:
Emeril's Homebase
638 Camp Street
New Orlean's, LA 70130
(504) 524-4241

From Emeril's TV Dinners by Emeril Lagasse
Copyright 1998 by Emeril Lagasse
Permission by William Morrow & Company, Inc.