Company was coming.
I am still handicapped with a bum knee. All of my energy was zapped just from cleaning my week-long neglected house in preparation for said company.
Well, I exaggerate. But only on the “company” part, that is. It isn’t like I was having a party, for goodness sake. My good friend, @jpadillabowen, was coming for dinner and a DVD. We try to have a girl’s D&D night periodically and it had been a while. I always cook up something fabulous like this, this and this. But truly, this bum knee has slowed me down. I was a bit worried about what to make. What tastiness could I come up with that was fast, easy, healthy and low effort?
One thing to narrow the field: Jess is not a meat eater. Just chicken and fish. And I don’t care for fish. A quick inventory of the pantry and freezer told me I had frozen sandwich rolls that I had saved from a photo shoot a few days before, boneless chicken breasts, whole wheat elbow macaroni, sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes, honey goat cheese I’d picked up at Trader Joes after having tried it at this party, shallots and a couple heads of garlic.
A plan was forming.
I love it when that happens.
I literally only let the chicken sit with the garlic rub for a mere 10 minutes. Just long enough for the grill to reach the 500˚ that I like to grill at.
The macaroni boiled while the chicken was grilling (sorry, no photo! But see this photo of my dinner this week? It is basically the same thing only it has tortellini in place of the elbow macaroni. Can you picture it?). I blanched the sugar snap peas, cut them on the bias and dressed it and the pasta with a super simple balsamic vinaigrette: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cp balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar, a generous squirt of dijon mustard, 1 clove of garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons of minced shallot, salt and pepper. Give it a good whisk and viola! An eeehhhxcellent vinaigrette for almost any baby greens, pasta or rice salad.
Dinner was a hit. It took all of about 30 minutes from beginning to end to prepare. We inhaled it and then sat down to watch a chickflick which tends to be what we watch when we get together. It turned out to be rather entertaining.
I love it when that happens, too.
Simply Grilled Garlic Chicken Sandwich with Honey Goat Cheese
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 2 sandwich-sized ciabatta rolls (french will suffice)
- 4 tablespoons honey goat cheese
- 2 thin slices of red onion
- handful of arugala
- 2 tablespoons mayonaise
- dijon mustard to taste
- Take goat cheese out of refrigerator, measure and place on counter to come up to room temperature.
- Pound the chicken. Place one chicken breast between 2 sheets of clear plastic wrap at least 3 times the size of the chicken. Maker sure the chicken is centered then use a meat mallet or similar (I use the end of my rolling pin because I don’t have a meat mallet) to pound out the chicken so that the thickest part is the same thickness of the thinner part (about 1/2” thick). Place pounded chicken into a shallow dish. Repeat with second breast.
- Massage. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil over the chicken. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and massage into the breasts being mindful to cover all of the chicken with the seasoning. Set aside and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. In the meantime, start grill.
- Grill. Once grill is hot (gas grill to at least 450˚ - I like it to reach 500˚; charcoal grill is ready when the briquets have turned ash grey - or red if grilling at night), place chicken on grill. Don’t move it. Once it’s down, leave it. Don’t poke. Don’t smash with the spatula. Cover grill and let cook for 6 minutes. Chicken should release from grill easily indicating it’s ready to flip. Flip and cook for 6 -8 minutes on this side. Because the chicken was pounded so thin, it will cook up rather fast and evenly. Remove chicken from grill and place on a plate. and tent with foil.
- Prepare rolls. While chicken is cooking, slice the ciabatta rolls lengthwise in half. Brush olive oil on cut side and place on grill to warm. Flip so both sides get those yummy grill marks.
- Assemble. Once bread is ready, spread 2 tablespoons of goat cheese on each of the two top halves of the rolls. Spread 1 tablespoon of mayo on each of the bottom halves. Add mustard to taste. On the bottom half, place a layer of arugula on each. Next add the onion, then a chicken breast then the top of the roll.
- Serve with a glass of ice cold sangria or other fruity wine or rosé.