Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just Good: A Grilled Chicken Sandwich Like No Other

Spring - maybe even Summer - made its way to Napa Valley this weekend. While I was hearing from friends and loved ones that a blizzard was pounding the Rocky Mountains, I was selfishly enjoying 85-degree sunny days. Like all rites of Spring (shaving my legs, digging out the sundresses, sneezing from the pollen), Ran and I cleaned up the grill, invited friends, and rolled out the hospitality for our first backyard BBQ of the year.

I wanted to make something light, relatively healthy, and of course, delicious. The result is this ridiculously tasty grilled chicken sandwich. But simply calling it a grilled chicken sandwich doesn't do it justice (just like here in Napa Valley you almost can't get "just" a tuna sandwhich; inevitably your tuna sandwich will cost $15 and be a grilled ahi steak with wasabi creme and organic microgreens on locally-baked foccacia... I love where I live, and yet really? I can't just get some chicken-of-the-sea on white bread?). But I digress.

So back to this sandwich: lemon-pepper grilled chicken breast atop a fresh ciabatta roll (grilled, of course), topped with an artichoke/roasted red pepper tapenade, lemon aioli, buffalo mozzerella and watercress. (Ok - so when I write it out like that, it sounds an awful lot like the tuna sandwich I just mocked. Oh well. I didn't say it wasn't good!)

It turned out great and was a big crowd pleaser. The only problem I'm having with it is what to call it! Suggestions, anyone, for a name for this chicken sandwich beyond compare? Until I can come up with something better, I'll just call it good!

Just Good Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Grilled lemon-pepper chicken breasts (marinade recipe to follow)
  • 6 fresh ciabatta rolls, halved and brushed with olive oil and then toasted on the grill
  • Sliced buffalo mozzerella (two slices per sandwich)
  • Artichoke/Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade (recipe to follow)
  • Lemon Aioli (recipe to follow)
  • Fresh watercress
Layer the sandwich as such: bottom bun, tapenade, chicken, mozzerella, aioli, watercress, top bun.

Lemon-Pepper Marinade (makes enough for 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • Fresh-cracked black pepper, lots!
Marinate the chicken breasts in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. Grill breasts over medium-high heat until done to an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Pull from grill and let rest 5-10 minutes. Can be served on the sandwiches whole or sliced.

Artichoke/Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade
  • 1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients. Not much to it.

Lemon Aioli
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
Combine yolks, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, and blend until an emulsion forms. Add salt to taste.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! That sounds delicious, even at 7:30 in the morning.