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So ordinary

This is a dish found in the last Coles Magazine. It's called One-pan prosciutto chicken with tomatoes and honestly there is nothing remarkable about it, in spite of its very classy styling and photograph. A toddler could make it - no cutting involved, although heat is involved, so perhaps not a toddler. A young child though. Or anyone with no cooking expertise at all - one of those teenagers I spoke about the other day perhaps. All you do is plonk some cheese and herbs on top of the chicken, wrap it in prosciutto, fry, remove, heat the tomatoes add some olives and vinegar and return the chicken. They even label it gluten free. Simple, simple, simple, and doesn't it look great? I bet it tastes good too.

It's the kind of dish that makes me simultaneously angry and thrilled.

It makes me angry because of its very simplicity and because all of those people who say they can't cook, can't shift themselves just a tiny bit to pick up a free magazine and just do it. Of course the recipe is a marketing exercise for Coles, because after all it's full of Coles products - deli olives, and their particular brands of tomatoes, but even they say that you can use any old cherry tomatoes.

You could even buy some ready wrapped and stuffed chicken breasts although that would cost you a whole lot more. And they even have a recipe on how to tart them up - well hardly - Prosciutto chicken with spinach and kale.

Although, I suppose to be fair, it's not a dish for the very poor anyway - cherry tomatoes, olives and prosciutto are not cheap - although actually even though, per kilo, prosciutto is very expensive, if you only need a few slices it's cheap - a dollar or so because it's sliced so thin. If you don't buy it ready sliced in a packet that is. Besides you could use cheaper bacon and bash it thin with a rolling pin. OK - I suppose you would need to be a regular cook to know that. Still it's within everyone's reach of expertise, and most people's pockets and according to Coles takes 35 minutes to make - quicker than ordering a pizza and either picking it up or waiting for it to arrive.

It's an extremely common dish - just about everyone has a version - Coles has two more: Baked chicken with sage and prosciutto and Oven baked chicken saltimbocca with prosciutto and cherry tomatoes. Woolworths also has two - Prosciutto wrapped chicken and potatoes and Chicken wrapped in prosciutto.

And if you go up a step in the 'gourmet' stakes you come across exactly the same recipe as the original Coles one from Lucy Busuttil in delicious. - One-pan chicken and prosciutto with tomatoes, mozzarella and basilOne has to wonder

about that. A deliberate copy by one or the other, or just a coincidence because it's such a common and obvious combination.

I did not look for recipes from the celebrity chefs and bloggers of the world. I'm sure there are countless versions. I chose to concentrate on the supermarket versions because those magazine are aimed at ordinary people and because you only find ordinary everyday food in them. I also did not search TikTok, Instagram et al. I'm sure they too have their own takes.

Mostly it fills me with wonder. It is indeed a very ordinary dish these days. There are literally thousands of very similar combinations out there. All based no doubt on an Italian classic idea - involtini - which I think were primarily veal or pork, but these days chicken is much more common.

I look at that picture at the top and besides wondering at the concept itself - just not known in my childhood, I also look at the ingredients. Chicken breasts - you had to buy a whole chicken back then and cut it up yourself. Prosciutto - unheard of and completely unavailable. Cherry tomatoes and vine-grown tomatoes, packaged with stems still on to make them look pretty (and to weigh more). Surely you would think we grew cherry tomatoes, but no I don't think we did. I simply do not remember them at all. Not in France either. Deli olives marinaded in things. We knew about olives but not marinaded. You put them in Martinis back then. Balsamic vinegar - unheard of. Mozzarella cheese. We didn't even have pizza back then.

Modern history on a plate - not to mention the much more ancient history of all of those ingredients and how they came to take on their current form.

Food is wonderful.

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Mar 11
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

I want to try One-pan prosciutto chicken with tomatoes... tonight?

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