This is the dish I cooked for my nearly-winning MasterChef audition tape. Featuring a chicken roulade stuffed with quick chicken sausage, a lemon and coconut risotto, sauteed fiddlehead ferns, and topped with a creamy hollandaise, this recipe is everything you could ever want from those early summer flavors. 

Chicken Roulade & Lemon Coconut Risotto 

Serves 4-5, Cooking time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients: Chicken Roulade

  • 3-4 thinly sliced chicken cutlets 
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken 
  • 1 egg 
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs 
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Kitchen twine
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh fiddlehead ferns, washed thoroughly 

Ingredients: Lemon Coconut Risotto

  • Half of a white onion, chopped 
  • 1 garlic glove, minced 
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice 
  • 1 box low sodium vegetable stock 
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio usually does it for me) 
  • 1 can of coconut milk 
  • The juice of 1 lemon 

Ingredients: Hollondaise

  • 3 egg yolks 
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter 
  • Squirt of lemon juice 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper 

Instructions: 

The timing of this is everything. It can be a little hard to make sure everything is still hot by the time it reaches your mouth with all of the different components, but we're going to do it! 

This is going to be the easiest process ever, I promise you. Start by making the chicken sausage. Dump the ground chicken, egg, bread crumbs, minced garlic, salt, and pepper into a medium sized bowl. Mix it all up with your hands! It yields the best results. If the mixture is still a little wet, add more bread crumbs. Set aside. 

Take your chicken cutlets and pound them out until they are about a quarter of an inch thick. Salt and pepper each side. Grab half a fistful of the chicken sausage mixture and spread on the thin chicken cutlet. Roll up the chicken cutlet around the sausage. Get your kitchen twine and just start wrapping it, securing it underneath itself. I am not a professional at kitchen twine. I promise it looked like a disaster. But this part is less important because who cares! 

Let's start the risotto! In a large sauce pan coated with olive oil, saute garlic and onions. Once softened, add the dry arborio rice. Cook until thoroughly tossed in olive oil. Then add the white wine. Cook until the rice has absorbed the wine. At this point, you are going to gradually add a half cup of vegetable stock to the rice mixture and wait until the rice has absorbed the liquid until adding the next half cup. This is going to take 3-4 rotations with a relatively often stir to avoiding sticking and burning. 

While you keep an eye on the risotto, heat up a cast iron pan on medium heat and coat with olive oil. Carefully place your little chicken roulades on the pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Further cooking may be necessary depending on the type of stove, pan, or the thickness of your roulades. 

I promise you can do this next part at the same time your risotto and chicken are cooking: Cook your fiddleheads. You must thoroughly clean these as you can usually actually see caked-on dirt on these! Your next step is to bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once you've accomplished that, add your fiddleheads and blanch for no more than ten minutes. The water will start to get brown and it is OK. They will just barely be tender. (By the way, did you flip your chicken and stir your risotto?!) Once ten minutes have passed, strain the fiddleheads and immediately dunk into an ice bath to halt cooking. 

How's your risotto doing? Hopefully it is puffed up, tripled in size, and tender. Taste to make sure it is at the consistency you like! Once it gets to this point, we are going to add our coconut milk, but not the actual milk itself. Take the top part of the can that has solidified coconut butter/fat and add that to your risotto, but not the actual liquid part. I know it's weird but trust me! It yields a truly wonderful creaminess. Once you've added that (approx. 1/4 cup of) coconut cream, add the juice of 1 lemon. Salt and pepper. Fresh parsley. Taste it to make sure it is up to your expectations, flavor wise. Let simmer for a few minutes. 

Quickly saute some garlic and onions in olive oil. Once softened, add your fiddleheads and cook for no more than five minutes. 

Check on your chicken, which should have some really beautiful char marks by now. Let rest for a couple of minutes while you make your hollandaise! 

This is the easiest part, I swear. In a double boiler over medium-low, start whisking up your egg yolks and the squirt of lemon juice vigorously. The yolks will start to bubble, grow in size, and turn more yellow. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk vigorously. Don't stop! Add seasoning to taste. Keep whisking. Hollondaise is done when the sauce looks beautifully shiny, creamy, and delicious. 

Now the most fun part: composing the dish. I definitely had a lot of fun plating this for MasterChef, but it is totally up to you! I started by plating the risotto in the center of the plate, and then slicing the roulade to showcase the beautiful sausage. I placed the sliced around the risotto and then added the sauteed fiddleheads right on top. Last but definitely not least, I drizzled the hollondaise on top generously. Add some more cracked pepper. 

And there you go! An artfully composed dish that is totally worth the million steps! I promise! It is indulgent but still delightfully healthy, in a still good way. Enjoy!