Nigel Slaters chicken fontina cakes recipe

A ball of chicken and bacon with melted cheese in the middle what better style to make a quick supper?

The recipe

Put 350 g of minced raw chicken in a mixing bowl. Coarsely mince or finely chop 200 g of smoked streaky bacon and add to the chicken. Season generously and set aside.

Grate 100 g of fontina cheese then combine with 10 g of finely chopped tarragon and a generous quantity of black pepper. Roll the seasoned cheese into 4 balls.

Divide the chicken and bacon into 4. Take 1 of the 4 pieces and roll it into a large ball, press a hollow in the meat with your fingers and place 1 of the balls of cheese into it. Close the minced meat around the cheese, making sure none of the cheese is prove. Continue with the other 3 pieces of mince. Place on a baking sheet and shivering for at least 20 minutes. Set the oven at 200 C/ gas mark 6.

Warm a couple of tbsp of olive oil in a shallow pan over a moderate heat, then lower in the little cakes, letting them brown sweetly on the base, then turn them over to colour the rest of the outside. Slide the pan into the preheated oven for 20 -2 5 minutes until they are cooked right through and the cheese is molten. Serve immediately. Enough for 2.

The trick

Chilling the cakes before cooking helps prevent them falling apart as they cook. You can do them a few hours in advance, but bringing them to room temperature before you fry them. Minced chicken should always be cooked thoroughly.

The twist

Season the meat as the fancy takes you. I have use tarragon, but garlic is good here, too, as is chopped thyme or lemon thyme, rosemary needles and dried oregano. In place of the fontina utilize a blue cheese, such as gorgonzola( wonderful if you have used chopped rosemary as a seasoning ).

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Email Nigel at nigel.slater @observer. co.uk or follow him on Twitter @NigelSlater

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