Monday, April 1, 2013

Blackened Chicken Sandwich with Cajun Slaw

We were in Perdido Key, FL last week for a combination work trip/spring break vacation.  This week I plan to do three recipes inspired by our visit there.

The first is inspired by the Sunset Grille.
Sunset Grilled Perdido Key

Sunset Grille is on the water at Florida's western state line.  They are located at the marina from where we used to leave for fishing trips.  When the boat got back to Holiday Harbor, we'd always get lunch at Sunset Grille.  The food is typical grill fare with some seafood items thrown in.  Its name comes from the spectacular view that it gets at sunset.

Sunset Grilled Perdido Key

Trevor always gets the 1/2 lb Sunset burger and one of my favorites is their blackened chicken sandwich with slaw.

Sunset Grilled Perdido Key

My version of their blackened chicken sandwich is done on the grill and I made a Cajun style slaw.  I threw in a side of sweet potato fries and a cilantro lime mayo. 

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Blackened Chicken Sandwich with Cajun Slaw


Ingredients (4 sandwiches)
    You'll need
    • 4 chicken cutlets
    • 4 kaiser rolls
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    For the blackening rub
    • 1/2 Tbsp paprika
    • 1 1/4 tsp kosher
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/4 tsp celery seed
    For the slaw
    • 1/4 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 green or red bell pepper, thin julienne sliced
    • 1/4 sweet onion, thin julienne sliced
    • 1/4 c mayonnaise
    • 1 T cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp blackening seasoning
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp hot sauce
    • 1/4 tsp celery seed
    1. Mix the dry rub ingredients together.
    2. Make the slaw. Put the cabbage, bell pepper, and onion in a bowl. Whisk the remaining ingredients together, pour over the veggies and toss to coat. I like to add a little of the dressing at a time until I get the consistency that I want.  This works best if you can make ahead and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours before eating.
    3. Preheat a charcoal grill with a cast iron skillet or griddle plate to 450f.
    4. Brush buns lightly with butter and toast until browned, about 15-30 seconds. Set aside.
    5. Drizzle just enough of the melted butter (about 1 Tbsp) over the chicken breasts to lightly coat. Season with 1/2 of the dry rub.
    6. Ladle a few tablespoons of the butter onto the hot griddle and place the cutlets onto the griddle seasoned side down. (Note: The butter may smoke a LOT. Don't worry, that's why we do it outside, just don't spill butter on the flames or it will flame up.) Cook until the edges of the cutlets start to turn white, about 3-5 minutes.
    7. Ladle the remaining butter over the chicken and season with the remaining dry rub. Flip and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 155-160f, about 3-5 minutes.
    8. Remove and serve on toasted buns with the slaw.
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     You have options on the chicken.  You can buy split boneless, skinless breasts, cut them in half lengthwise and pound them with a mallet.

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    Or for just $.50 more a pound, you can just buy chicken cutlets.  For me it just depends if I am feeling lazy or not.

    Stupid Bun Tricks
    When I'm using a chimney starter to fire up Kingsford briquets for my Smoke Hollow grill, after the smoke is cleared, I'll put a GrillGrate over the chimney and "power toast" my buns, just 10 seconds or so each.  

    Another thing I like to do sometimes is mince cilantro and red pepper and add it to olive oil for brushing the buns.  It gives a pop of color and adds flavor.

    Season heavily, the seasoning, butter, and hot cast iron will form a "crust" that is the blackening.

    blackend chicken sandwich with cajun slaw, big green egg chicken recipe, grill dome chicken recipe, kamado chicken recipe
    Set up for a standard grill - cast iron griddle or skillet will work.

    On my Big Green Egg, I used the griddle insert for my Craycort grate system.

    Visual cues - I know it's time to flip when I can see "white" creeping up the sides of the sizzling breasts.

    blackend chicken sandwich with cajun slaw, big green egg chicken recipe, grill dome chicken recipe, kamado chicken recipe
    This cook can be smoky and messy.  That's why we do it on the grill instead of in the kitchen.

    blackend chicken sandwich with cajun slaw, big green egg chicken recipe, grill dome chicken recipe, kamado chicken recipe
    It may be a "side dish" but for me, slaw is more of a condiment.

    blackend chicken sandwich with cajun slaw, big green egg chicken recipe, grill dome chicken recipe, kamado chicken recipe
    My blackened chicken is better than theirs...but I can't beat their view!

    Do you have a favorite "vacation restaurant" and if so, what is it?  


    1. One of the best parts of returning home from travel is that we are often food inspired. I have no doubt that your blackened chicken with coleslaw is a hundred times better-


    2. I love the idea of the spiced up slaw. And a blackened chicken sandwich can not be beat. As for a "vacation restaurant" I appear to be the "kiss of death" for any place I really like. Oh well...

      1. Dan, the joke at work is if anyone wants a resto shut down, they send me. :)

        Nice writeup, Chris. You have too many toys. Ok, well, a lot of toys (can't have too many).

    3. There is a chowder spot in Seattle that definitely won us over when we took a trip there with friends. Such great food! It's nice to replicate those recipes at home though. And cheaper!

    4. You amaze me! Recreating dishes that you eat at restaurants! WISH I could do that! And you are so creative... just whippin together some cilantro, red pepper, and olive oil for the buns like that? And I die for your sweet potato fries and cilantro lime mayo. Can I be you for a day? :)

    5. So...better chicken or better view. Personally, i think I'd rather eat at your place Chris!

    6. Wonderful sandwich,Chris! I love slaw and chicken...soooo this sounds like the perfect meal!

    7. Your kicked up version looks and sounds super good Chris. When I think of favorite vacation restaurants, I think in terms of places we visit regularly. That limits us to a few towns and sadly, those restaurants that used to be our favorites have all gone down hill with none to replace them. If we go back to some of the same towns on our next trip west, there are some places I will want to hit again.

    8. Gotta love any dish that involves ladling butter! Also, I really like the way you've tied everything together flavor-wise. That has to be one great meal.

    9. Great looking sandwich Chris and I like the idea of the cilantro lime mayo too. As they say in Carolina, "want slaw on it?"

    10. i think any sandwich i ever eat from now on should be on a golden grilled bun! this whole thing looks awesome!

    11. Looks perfect, Chris. The cilanto lime mayo sounds wonderful. While the view is great, I'd rather eat at your place. I know the food would be better.

    12. Funny, I just made a blackened chicken sandwich last night! Although I'm going to call it a spicy chicken sandwich as mine did not get very blackened.. yours on the other hand looks amazing!!

    13. I have several favorite vacation restaurants. I think your sandwich looks better than the restaurant sandwich but I may be biased.

    14. We lived in Southwest Florida for four years, and the restaurants often weren't very good. The best food we found on the beach was at my husband's aunt's house. :)

      I never think of cooking blackened chicken. This looks so good, I think I'll remember it next time I buy chicken. Thank you for the recipe.

    15. This may be on my dinner table tonight. Something about a sandwich topped with slaw always reels me in. I've got a port tenderloin that I need to use. What do you think about the blackened seasoning for pork tenderloin sandwiches? That's a hard question about favorite vacation restaurant. It would have to be a spot that we visit regularly and since we've been to Oregon Wine Country twice, I'd have to say Nick's Italian Cafe. It's flat out a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I actually requested that we fly there for a Saturday night dinner for my birthday last week. But we didn't.

    16. Lea Ann - yes, I have used that for pork as well as steak and redfish. If you are doing the tenderloin inside, the difference from your usual pan sear then roast would be that you want your skillet "rocket hot" to sear that crust on. Have windows open and your vent fans running because the butter will kick up a lot of smoke.

    17. I use slaw as a condiment too! I'm just starting to get interested in blackening - chicken looks like as good a place to start as any! This is definitely calling my name. Woe is me - I haven't been on a vacation in too many years to count.

    18. Can't speak to anything else but the slaw was terrific, served with snapper burgers. Thanks for sharing.


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