Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Red Pepper and Chive Sauce

This might be burger month but sometimes I like a grilled chicken sandwich as much as any burger.  Here's one that I recently made as a quickie one weeknight.

Red jalapenos are hard to find fresh and they are only ready late in the summer but you can find jarred red jalapenos all year.  That's what I used for this recipe.   I used dried chives because I like to crumble them into smaller pieces but you could finely dice fresh chives instead.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Red Pepper and Chive Sauce
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other high heat oil (divided)
  • 3 kaiser buns
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons BBQ rub, such as Albukirky BBQ Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (see instructions)
  • toppings such as sliced onions, tomatoes, and lettuce
For the Red Pepper and Chive Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon diced red jalapeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • lime juice to taste and consistency, about 1-2 teaspoons
  1. Mix the mayo, jalapeno, chives, garlic salt, ancho chile, and sugar in a small bowl.  Start whisking in lime juice until you get the taste and consistency that you like.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  2. Set up your grill for direct heat and preheat your grill to 450°F.
  3. Mix the BBQ rub and black pepper together, taste for balance.  Add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt if needed, depending on the BBQ rub that you used. 
  4. Butterfly your chicken breast halves (see pictures below), lightly rub them with 1/2 tablespoon oil, and season both sides with the BBQ rub/black pepper/salt mixture.  
  5. Lightly brush your buns with 1/2 tablespoon oil and toast on the grill, about 15-20 seconds.
  6. Grill the chicken until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F, about 4 minutes per side.
  7. Remove and serve with the toasted buns, red pepper and chive sauce, and desired dressings.
For the best grilled chicken for sandwiches, I like to butterfly the breast for quicker cooking.  It is pretty simple to do at home.  Just take a boneless skinless chicken breast halve and slice through until about 1/2 to 3/4" from the edge.  It helps to press slightly down with your hand while slicing, but be very careful with your knife.

Then just open up the breast like a book...

Then use the base of your palm or a meat mallet to flatten it out.

Season both sides heavily.

A good chicken sandwich has to have toasted buns, right?

One way to tell when it is time to flip the chicken is to watch the edges.  When the edges turn white from cooking like the top piece of chicken above, it's about time to flip it to the other side.

Then it's just a few more minutes to cook the other side through.

This thin cut won't have much carry over heat so I cook them to an internal temperature of about 160°F.  Using my trusty Thermopop.

Quick and easy - perfect for summer evenings.

Great Balls o' Fire
We went to St Augustine Beach last week and while there, we went to one of my favorite places - the Castillo de San Marcos.

Built by the Spanish over 330 years ago, it is the oldest masonry structure in the United States.  The fort is dripping with history as it has been changed hands several times between Spain, Britain, and the US.  During 1842-44, the US added this structure that looks amazingly like a pizza oven, doesn't it?

Actually, this isn't an oven, it is a "shot furnace".  An artillery battery was built to the right of this picture and aims out over the inlet.  This furnace was used to heat cannonballs that would be rolled through it using the gears on the side.  These glowing hot cannonballs would then be fired at wooden enemy ships, catching them on fire.

But I suspect that in times of piece, the soldiers used this contraption to to fire up some grilled food.  Discipline, schmishipline, I want some BBQ!