Mustard-Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Soft Egg

Suzanne Goin

Lucques, Los Angeles

This chicken preparation has a super-bright, savory quality from the combination of the mustard, pecorino, and puckery vinaigrette.

Note: There are a lot of components to this dish but you can make the pecorino pudding and marinate the chicken the day before. The mustard dressing, mustard breadcrumbs, and toasted pine nuts can be done in advance as well. So, when you are ready to serve, you can just concentrate on grilling the chicken, tossing the salad, and cooking those gorgeous eggs.


Mustard-Grilled Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely diced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large chicken legs with thigh attached, boned (or substitute chicken breasts)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pecorino Pudding:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano
  • Kosher salt

Mustard Breadcrumbs:

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

To serve:

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 6 ounces baby spinach, cleaned and dried
  • 1 recipe Mustard Breadcrumbs 
  • 3/4 cup spring onions sliced on the bias (white and green parts only)
  • 1 recipe Pecorino Pudding 
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino


Marinate the chicken: heat a small sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the butter, and when it foams, add the diced shallots and the thyme. Sauté for about 2 minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add the vermouth and reduce by half. Transfer to a baking dish and let cool a few minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, 1 egg, the chopped tarragon, and a pinch of black pepper.

Place the chicken legs between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Remove from the plastic wrap and slather the chicken with the marinade, making sure to coat both sides well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Make the pecorino pudding: preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a medium pot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the butter, and when it foams, whisk in the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and cook for about 5 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown. Slowly pour in the milk and cream, whisking constantly to incorporate it. The butter and flour will seize up and get pasty at first. Continue whisking vigorously as you add the liquid, and the mixture will become smooth. Cook for a few more minutes, until warm to the touch. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk the egg and egg yolk together in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle the eggs into the cream mixture, whisking continuously until combined. Stir in the cheese and season with a heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour the mixture into an 8 x 6-inch (or equivalent) baking dish, and cover lightly with foil. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan and add hot water to the pan until it comes halfway up the outside of the baking dish. Place the pan in the oven, and bake for about 1 hour, until the pudding is just set. (Note: if you make the pudding ahead of time, be sure to take it out of the refrigerator to reach room temperature. When it does, heat it in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes, until it is heated through and starts to brown slightly on top.)

Make the mustard breadcrumbs: raise the oven to 375°F. Place the breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the butter, and when it foams, whisk in the mustard, parsley, and thyme. Remove from the heat, let cool for a few minutes, and then pour the mustard butter over the breadcrumbs, tossing to coat them well. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a baking sheet, and toast them for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring often, until they’re golden brown and crispy.

Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before you’re ready to cook the chicken and take the chicken out of the refrigerator to let it come to room temperature.

Toast the pine nuts: spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet, and toast in the (375) oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until they’re lightly browned and smell nutty. (Keep a close eye, because pine nuts are expensive and they burn quickly!) When the pine nuts have cooled, coarsely chop them.

Make the mustard vinaigrette: whisk the egg yolk in a small bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, the red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup olive oil. Thin the vinaigrette with 1 teaspoon water or more if needed. Taste for balance and seasoning.

Meanwhile, carefully lower 6 eggs into a pot of boiling water. Cook for exactly 6 minutes, and cool immediately in a bowl of ice water. When the eggs have cooled, peel them.

Place the spinach, half the pine nuts, half the breadcrumbs, and the spring onions in a large bowl.

When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, place the soft-cooked eggs in the oven to heat up.

Drizzle the chicken with 2 tablespoons olive oil and place it on the grill skin-side down. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, rotating once or twice after a couple of minutes to get the skin crispy. (The chicken will stick to the grill at first, but it will eventually release.) When the skin side is nicely crisped, turn the chicken over, and cook for a few minutes on the other side, until it’s just cooked through.

Pour 1/2 cup of the mustard vinaigrette over the salad, and season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Toss well and taste for balance and seasoning.

Spoon the hot pecorino pudding onto the center of 6 dinner plates. Arrange the spinach salad on top of the pudding and place the chicken on top. Carefully balance an egg on top of each piece of chicken. Drizzle with 1/4 cup mustard vinaigrette and sprinkle the remaining pine nuts, breadcrumbs, and grated pecorino over the top.

Excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Goin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 


6 servings