You’ll get a blue ribbon if you guess what today’s food holiday is! Give up? April 4th is National Cordon Bleu Day!
If you hadn’t already guessed, “cordon bleu” translates to blue ribbon in French. This scrumptious dish refers to a cutlet of meat – traditionally chicken, veal, or pork – that is pounded thin, stuffed with a slice of ham and a slice of cheese, breaded, and either baked or fried. It’s a relatively recent creation, and not even French, despite the hoity-toity name. A schnitzel with cheese first appeared in Switzerland (naturally) during the 1940s. The earliest mention of “cordon bleu” in America dates to a veal recipe in 1955, while the chicken version appeared in a New York Times article in 1967. A future version – “soylent green cordon bleu” – is expected in 2022. Don’t ask what’s in it. Sometimes prosciutto or bacon is substituted for the ham, and any soft cheese can be used. I’m partial to Swiss myself. I believe that’s the traditional cheese type used, probably in honor of the dish’s place of origin, but that theory could be full of holes.
I’ve made chicken cordon several times in the past, and had actually planned on cooking it for Tara soon anyway, so this food holiday gave me the perfect excuse. It’s easy to make, and the results are always delicious. I use this recipe from allrecipes.com, with a few minor variations (add paprika to the bread crumb mixture and coat the entire breast in it before cooking). Turned out great!