Mustard-grilled chicken with spinach, pine nuts, pecorino & soft egg . . .

For six servings -

There are a lot of components to this dish but you can make the pecorina pudding and marinate the chicken the day before. The mustard dressing, mustard bread crumbs, and tossed pine nuts can be done in advance as well. So, when you are ready to serve, you can concentrate on grilling the chicken, tossing the salad, and cooking those gorgeous eggs.



2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely diced shallots

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/2 cup dry vermouth (or a dry, white wine)

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

7 extra-large eggs

2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon

6 large chicken legs with thigh attached, bones removed (or just bonewless thighs, skin ON!)

1 extra-large egg yolk

1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 lemon

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

6 ounces baby spinach, cleaned and dryed

1 recipe Mustard breadcrumbs (follows)

3/4 cup diagonally sliced green onions (both white and green parts)

1 recipe Pecorino Pudding (follows)

1/2 cup grated Pecorino

salt and freshly goound black pepper



Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

    For the chicken marinade, heat a small sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the butter and when it foams add the diced shallots and the thyme: sautée for 2 minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add the verouth, and reduce by half. Transfer to a baking dish and let cool a few minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, 1 egg, the chopped tarragon and a pinch of black pepper.

    Place the chicken legs/thighs between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Remove the plastic wrap and slather the chicken with the marinade, making sure to coat both sides well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

    Whisk the egg yolk in a small bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, the red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 taspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Slowly whisk in the 3/4 up olive oil. Thin the vinaigrette with 1 teaspoon water or more if needed. Taste for balance and seasoning.

    Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before you're ready to cook the chicken and take the chicken out of the refirigerator to let it come to room temperature.

    Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until they're lightly browned and smell nutty. (Careful, too much and they are ruined. And expensive!!!) When the pine nuts have cooled, chop roughly.

    Meanwhile, carefully lower remaining six eggs into a pot of boiling water. Cook for exactly 6 minutes and cool immediately in an ice-water bath. Once cooled, peel them.

    Place the spinach, half the pine nuts, half the breadcrumbs, and the spring onions in a large bowl.

    When the (grill) coals are broken down, red, and glowing, place the soft-cooked eggs in the oven to heat up.

    Drizzle the chicken with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, place on the grill skin-side down. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, rotating once or twice after a couple of minutes to get the skin side crispy. When the skin side is nicely crisped turn the chicken over and cook for a few minutes on the other side until it's just cooked through.

    Pour 1/2 cup of the mustard vinaigrette over the salad and season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Toss well.

    Spoon the hot pecorino pudding onto the center of six plates. Arrange the spinach salad on top of the pudding and place the chicken on top. Carefully balance an egg on top of each piece of chicken, quarter-slicing the egg - but not quite all the way through. Drizzle with 1/4 cup mustard viniagrette, and sprinkle the remaining pine nuts and breadcrumbs, then the grated pecorino over the top.


Any Grenache wine, with fruity red fruit notes and bright acidity combines well. Check your wine supplier and if necessary, request soemething comparable on the web.




       Toss breadcrumbs in a bit of Dijon mustard and a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme and chopped fresh parsley. Toast slightly.





3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus two tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups whole milk

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 extra-large egg plus 1 extra-large egg yolk

1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Kosher salt


       Preheat the oven to 350º.

       Heat a medium pot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the butter, and when it foams, whisk in the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, cooking for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the flour brown.
     Slowly pour in the milk and cream, whisking constantly to incorporate it. The butter and flour will seize up and get pasty at first. Continue whisking vigorously as you add the liquid and the mixture will become smooth. Cook for a few minutes, until warm to the touch, then remove from the heat.

     Whisk the egg and egg yolk together in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle the eggs into the cream mixture, whisking continuously until combined. Stir in the cheese and season with a heaping teaspoon of salt. Pour the mixture into an 8 x 6 inch baking dish and cover lightly with foil. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan and add hot water to the pan until it comes halfway up the outside of the baking dish. Place the pan in the oven, and bake for about 1 hour, until the pudding is just set. If you make the pudding ahead of time store it in the refrigerator. When getting ready to use, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Then place in a 350º oven for about 20 minutes, until it is heated through and starts to brown slightly on the top.