The first time I tasted a blood orange I was twenty years old, a foreign student in France. My friends and I had decided to spend the Christmas holidays in Italy. We woke up to our first day in Rome and visited a tiny coffee bar. Everyone had glasses of blood orange juice next to steaming espresso and we were so enthused. Beautiful color and raspberry- tasting, this was Italia! The men flirted with and teased us, "You pretty American girls drink orange juice in America all day long!" ...Now mint is another story. I believe that mint's proper place lies in the bottom of my glass, slightly muddled, awaiting a luscious libation. Our garden is now full of mint in early spring, peppermint, spearmint, pineapple and chocolate. This recipe draws from two of my favorites, chicken breasts stuffed with Fontina, and chicken a la orange. The gremolata is a twist, substituting mint for parsely and blood orange zest over my favorite Meyer lemons. —Lizthechef
Carefully cut a slot in each breast and widen with fingers. Insert a slice of cheese and chopped mint. Secure with wooden toothpicks. (This keeps the cheese from seeping into the pan.) In a medium-sized skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter and the olive oil. Cook chicken until done, at medium heat, about 5 minutes per side, depending on the size of the pieces. Remove chicken and keep warm.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and saute shallot until it softens. Add juice, zest and cream. Crank up the heat for about 5 minutes until mixture thickens slightly. At this point, add the cornstarch, if so desired, and whisk for a thicker sauce. Return chicken to pan, simmer and turn pieces at least once - cover.
Serve chicken atop whole wheat couscous and plate. Sauce each portion and garnish with thin twists of citrus and a sprig of mint.