Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich
Last weekend I had one of my hard core chicken tender frying marathons so that I could re-stock the freezer for the kids. I was overzealous in the amount of chicken that I bought (about 10 lbs.) and I was growing tired of the process. So I decided that, for the last package of chicken, I would make cutlets which would involve fewer batches to batter and fry. The chicken breasts were thick, so I sliced them in half and pounded them out a little bit; this way the inside would be fully cooked without the outside being too browned. Well, we didn’t eat the cutlets that night, so I refrigerated them to have for the next day. I wasn’t in the mood for Chicken Parmesan (and I like more of a breaded cutlet for that anyway), and they looked kind of uninspiring just by themselves, so I decided to turn them into sandwiches. I didn’t really have that many options in my refrigerator, so the sandwich is a result of what I had on hand. I did have the option of using regular bacon and making a standard club sandwich, but since I had some proscuitto, I decided to crisp that up instead. The tomatoes you see in the photo are Kumato tomatoes – they’re not an heirloom, but a hybrid, and they’re excellent. I love arugula, as does my daughter, so she and I had that on our sandwich while I made the boys’ sandwiches with leaf lettuce. The garlic herb mayonnaise was super easy because I just combined prepared mayonnaise with garlic and herbs. I had really great French dinner rolls, but you could use Italian rolls, or even ciabatta bread. The sandwiches were a big hit and made it onto the “make that more often” list. This recipe is for 4 Servings, but can easily be adjusted.
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – sliced in 1/2 to make 4 thinner breasts (or purchase the thinner cut breasts)
- 3 Cups Buttermilk (enough to cover chicken)
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1/4 Cup Corn Starch
- Salt and Pepper
- Vegetable Oil (enough to cover when frying – amount will depend on the size of the pot you fry in)
- 1 Package (about 4 oz.) Proscuitto
- Mozzerella Cheese (can use shredded or sliced)
- 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
- 2 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
- 2 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
- Arugula, lettuce, or your favorite green
- 2 Tomatoes – sliced
The Fresh Toppings
Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and soak in buttermilk for 4-12 hours (the longer they soak, the more tender they are). Combine flour, corn starch, 2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper in a large plastic bag and shake to mix thoroughly; set aside. Add vegetable oil to a medium or large stockpot – oil should cover the bottom of the pan by about 2 inches (enough so that when added, chicken will be submersed). Heat oil to 350 degrees. In the meantime, heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a medium saute pan, add proscuitto slices and cook until crispy; drain on paper towel. Remove 1 chicken breast from buttermilk (do not try to shake off excess buttermilk – this makes for good batter) and transfer immediately to flour mixture. Shake until chicken is well coated. Set coated chicken aside on a cooling rack. Repeat process until all chicken breasts are battered. Working in batches, add chicken to oil and cook until outside is golden brown and inside is cooked through (about 5-7 minutes each, depending on size of your cutlets). (You can test on breast by cutting into it). Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the mayonnaise by combining mayonnaise, garlic and herbs; set aside. Place cutlets on a baking sheet and top each cutlet with mozzerella cheese. Bake until cheese is melted. Assemble sandwiches by coating top pieces of rolls generously with mayonnaise. Add one cutlet to each bottom roll;top with crispy proscuitto, and then top with tomato slices and greens.
Slice sandwiches in 1/2 and serve immediately so chicken is still warm.
Smoked Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Shallot Panini with Avocado Mayo
This little sandwich doesn’t look very impressive in the photo, but boy was it good! I love grilled sandwiches, and I love them even more when they’re done on a panini press. My Dad was the one who got me started on paninis; they were one of his signature dishes. The great thing about paninis is that you can stuff a lot of different stuff into a sandwich, add cheese, put it on the panini press, and the sandwich stays together. I think the best panini creations are those that are a result of using what you have in the fridge/pantry. The options for bread are limitless, as are the options for meat, veggies, and cheese, and you can easily throw together a simple flavored mayo or mustard (or leave it off altogether). Prior to Thanksgiving, Bryan smoked a whole chicken (as a test run for the turkey he would smoke for Thanksgiving). The smoked chicken was great, and we had plenty of leftovers – hence, I was inspired to make paninis. I didn’t have much else around, but I did have a red pepper, some shallots (no onion – which worked out fine; I liked the shallot), some cheese and an avocado. My avocado had some icky spots, so I didn’t have enough to put slices on everyone’s sandwich, so I decided to just mash it and combine it with mayonnaise to make a spread. If you don’t have a panini press, you can make these sandwiches in a pan or griddle on the stove just like grilled cheese, or you could do them on an outdoor grill. Now I’ll have to post some soups or salads – the perfect accompaniment for a weeknight dinner. I haven’t posted very specific quantities because that’s easy enough to figure out depending on how many paninis you are making.
- Smoked or Roasted Chicken (at room temperature)- fairly thinly sliced, (can substitute any deli meat)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 2-3 Medium Shallots (can substitute several rings of sliced red onion)
- Italian Bread (can substitute any sliced bread)
- Pepper Jack Cheese – sliced
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stem, seeds and membranes from the peppers. Peel and thinly slice the shallots, place in a bowl and toss with a enough olive oil to coat. Place the peppers skin side up on a baking sheet (foil lined for easy clean-up). Sprinkle the peppers and shallots with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally. Flip peppers and onions to roast on other side until they reach the desired tenderness; remove from oven and allow to cool. When peppers are cool enough to handle peel off the skin. Peel and remove the pit from the avocado and mash the flesh. Add desired amount of mayonnaise. Assemble the sandwiches by spreading a layer of avocado mayonnaise on one or both sides of the bread. To the bottom piece of bread, add a layer of chicken, then peppers, then shallots. Top with cheese and the top piece of bread. Heat the panini press, pan, griddle or grill to medium high. Brush both sides of the sandwich with olive oil and cook until the outside is well browned and the cheese is melted.
BLT – the perfect cottage lunch
I am still struggling to pull myself away from the beautiful beach to cook and blog. We’ve been enjoying a lot of meals one would expect to eat at a cottage – grilled chicken, grilled steak, grilled potatoes, crisp salad etc. My BLT lover friend was here the other day and, you guessed it, we enjoyed BLTs for lunch. I didn’t even use fancy bread (it’s hard to find here), so we had our BLTs with grocery store Italian bread – toasted, of course. We did enjoy heirloom tomatoes and the bacon was the super thick cut that I buy from John Henry farms (they have a booth at our local farmer’s market, but they also deliver). What goes better with a BLT than sour cream and onion potato chips? We even ate off of cute plastic plates adorned with sailboats. I am going to try out a new risotto idea and I think I might pair it with a cranberry braised chicken – that is if I don’t spend too long at the beach and watching the Olympics.
The view of Lake Huron from the cottage
And it’s beautiful even after it rains
Humphrey training for Olympic kayaking
B.E.L.T Sandwich pictured with Homemade Potato Chips
I feel odd about posting such a simple sandwich (particularly one month late), but Easter had come and gone, and I was faced with what to do with the remaining hard boiled Easter eggs. I love egg salad, but my kids have always been skeptical. I solved the problem by adding bacon to the egg salad sandwich and making it a Bacon Egg Lettuce and Tomato sandwich. After all, bacon improves everything! I used a hearty whole grain bread which I toasted. To me, the crispier the better; the crispy bread and bacon add great contrast to the egg salad. The sandwich is a little cumbersome, so you’ll want to have forks readily available. As you can see, I didn’t skimp on the egg salad; you could certainly use less and the sandwich wouldn’t be quite so messy. In general, however, this is not the sandwich to serve at an elegant ladies tea, but it makes a great hearty weeknight dinner.
- 6 Large Hard Boiled Eggs (see below instructions for boiling the perfect egg)
- 1/3 -1/2 Cup Real Mayonnaise
- 1 TBS. Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 tsp. Celery Salt
- Salt and Pepper
- 6-8 Slices of good quality Bacon
- 1 Large Tomato – 4-8 thin slices (depending on circumference of tomato)
- 4 Leaves of Green Lettuce
Cook the bacon in a skillet on the stove, or in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Set on paper towel to drain.
To Prepare the eggs: Allow eggs to come to room temperature. Place eggs in a medium sized saucepan and cover with water (water should be at least 2 inches above tops of eggs). Over high heat, bring to a boil. Once water boils, remove pan from heat and allow eggs to sit for 14-15 minutes. HINT: I always boil and extra “tester” egg which then goes to the dog. After 14-15 minutes, run the eggs under cold water until completely cooled.
Chop the eggs into a small dice. Mix in 1/3 cup of mayonnaise – add additional mayonnaise a little bit at a time until desired creaminess is reached. Add Dijon mustard and celery salt, mix well and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Toast bread and assemble sandwiches – spread about 1/2 inch of egg salad on bottom piece of toast, add bacon slices, tomato, and lettuce – top with another piece of toast.