June is National Dairy Month and today, June 1, is World Milk Day. So let’s raise an ice-cold glass of milk to toast Florida’s more than 100 dairy farms. And while we could leave it at that, there is so much more to this monthlong focus on dairy awareness. The possibilities are endless because milk is only the beginning of this culinary journey.
Just check out our new campaign “Undeniably Dairy,” to see just how easy it is to help yourself to several servings of all things dairy every day.
Over the next five Thursdays we’ll explore how the versatility of dairy products fit into busy healthful, lifestyles with recipes that won’t bust the budget. Today’s recipe is Herbed Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Roulade with Avocado Crema. This dish uses a variety of dairy products to enliven flavors and tenderize texture. It’s a savory salute to the power of milk.
Herbed Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Roulade with Avocado Crema
Yield: 4 servings
1 ripe Florida avocado
1 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange or tangerine juice, or more to taste
Coarse sea salt and white pepper to taste
4 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/8-inch
1 cup buttermilk
1 minced garlic clove
2 tablespoons olive oil
Panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1 tablespoon freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Fresh lemon zest to taste
Coarse sea salt and white pepper to taste
Freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fresh lemon zest
1. For the crema, combine all the ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth, tasting to adjust seasonings as needed. Scrape into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Bring mixture to room temperature to serve.
2. For the chicken, combine the buttermilk and garlic in a sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight. Remove from bag, shake excess liquid off and lay chicken flat on parchment paper. Combine the panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, set aside. Preheat oven to 450F.
3. For the filling, blend ricotta with parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and zest. Divide filling among chicken, spreading to just before the edges. Beginning at the narrow end of the chicken, roll up to enclose the filling. Tie with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals to secure or skewer with wood picks in several places.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high. Add chicken roulades and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using a high heat spatula brush tops of roulades with mayonnaise. Using tongs, top each with the of Parmesan and Panko mixture. Carefully transfer pan to the oven to bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of roulades registers 160F, 5-7 minutes.
5. Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes. Slice each on an angle and arrange medallions on servings plates. Drizzle with crema and garnish with parsley and lemon zest.
• Make the avocado crema the day before.
• Marinate the chicken in the buttermilk overnight.
• Filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before stuffing.
The versatility of dairy
Buttermilk: Can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods and to make lighter pancakes; also its lactic acid helps tenderizes meats and encourages moist texture.
Sour cream: Use as a tangy topping for tacos, potatoes and soups. It makes a thick base for salad dressings and dips, and can be added to batters and doughs.
Parmesan cheese: Sprinkle grated cheese on pasta, fold into risotto, toss with salad greens. Drizzle with honey and add to a cheese board. Simmer the rind in slow-cooked soups.
Ricotta: A component of sweet and savory dishes, its texture can take on a variety of flavors. Use as a thickener for creamy sauces or as spread on multi-grain bread.
Dairy and your health
Dairy products provide health benefits – especially improved bone health, according to choosemyplate.gov, a USDA program that helps consumers find their individual healthy eating styles and build on it throughout their lifetime. Dairy ingredients provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Florida Dairy Fun Facts
Most of the dairy cows living in Florida are Holsteins (the black and white cows).
Lafayette and Okeechobee are Florida’s leading dairy counties.
Most Florida dairy herds range in size from 150 cows to 5,000 cows.