Ever since brothers Craig and Ron Heldorfer opened Fratello’s in 1992, the menu has consisted of traditional Italian fare. But the Chicken Rollatini is executive chef Craig’s own creation, a take on a rollatini usually made of thinly sliced eggplant that is floured or breaded, paired with a ricotta cheese mixture, sauced and baked.
“What I look for in a dish is usually colors,” he says. “Not so much with this one. I’m looking for textures and to blend the textures.”
He achieves that goal with the following:
The chicken breast. Craig starts with fresh fowl raised cage-free and fed a predominantly corn- and soy-based diet with no added hormones. “We pound it out nice and thin,” he says.
The Fratello stuffing. Seasoned bread crumbs, fresh diced garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, spinach, pepper and pecorino romano are mixed and stuffed into the chicken breast. The spinach provides texture and earthiness, the hard cheese saltiness and even more texture. “The main thing with the bread crumbs is to have enough oil in them — you want to be able to take a handful, squeeze it and have it hold its shape,” Craig says. “[The oil] will go through the chicken and add a lot of flavor.”
The mozzarella cheese. Craig tops the chicken breast with a whole-milk selection before rolling it up, flouring and dipping it in beaten egg, browning and baking it. “[It] adds a creaminess to the dish,” he says.
The Fratello sauce. The Chicken Rollatini is finished with a sauce of butter, fresh lemon juice, vegetable base and “odds and ends” Craig declines to reveal. The classic combination “will enhance anything, whether it be chicken, fish, you name it, because of the lemon juice,” he says. “The butter adds a smoothness and creaminess to it.”
The marsala mushrooms. The crowning touch is prepared by cooking sliced fresh button mushrooms in butter and oil, then dashing them with dry imported marsala wine and drawn butter. The result adds a sweetness that balances the lemony sauce. “You can still taste the chicken, though,” Craig stresses. “That’s crucial, I feel.”
32085 Electric Blvd., Avon Lake
440-933-3380 • fratellos.net