March 16, 2012

Foodie Friday - Basil Pesto Chicken Sandwich


Basil Pesto Chicken
& Mozarella Sandwich

by Resident Chef James Wood

Happy Friday everyone! Today I am sharing my version of Basil Pesto and then I will incorporate it into a tasty chicken sandwich.
First, let us start off with the pesto… Here is a list of what you need…
4 ounces of Basil (usually sold in a 4 ounce box at the market)
4 ounces of spinach
4 ounces of pecorino romano
2 ounces parmesano reggiano
5 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
1+1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
and a food processor
This costs about $8-9 to make in my neck of the woods up here in Seattle, but, it yields about 24 ounces of fresh pesto! At about $0.38/ounce thats pretty awesome. Plus, this is a ingredient that has tons of uses AND freezes extremely well!

Step 1
Place the chunks of parmesan and pecorino in your food processor with bottom blade attachment and turn on. Let run until very small pebbles have been created.
Step 2
Add the garlic and pulse until incorporated
Step 3
Add the basil, stems and all!!! Pulse until broken down and then add the spinach and repeat. (***I use spinach because it has a neutral flavor compared to the basil and you can double the size of your recipe without putting a damper on your grocery bill! But if you're feeling sassy…. Just double the basil!)
Step 4
Add the juice of the lemon, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and turn the processor to the on position and let run.
Step 5
Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the processor until you have a smooth consistency and let run for about 15-20 additional seconds.
That is it! Simple, easy and packed with flavor! Transfer to a storage container.
***A trick we use in the the restaurants is to take a small piece of plastic film and place it over the surface of the pesto before you put on a lid so it can keep the beautiful vibrant green color without the risk of oxidation. Lasts for a week in the fridge and up to a month in the freezer.

Now for the Pesto Chicken Sandwich with fresh Mozzarella and Roma Tomatoes

What you need to serve 4…
4 ciabatta or torta rolls
2 chicken breasts
2 ounces mayonnaise
2 ounces of FRESH PESTO
2 Roma Tomatoes
8 slices of fresh mozzarella (*** you can purchase this in 2-1 pound logs at Cosco for $7.99 instead of paying $5.99 for a 5 ounce ball at the grocery store.)
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Pre-Heat your oven to 350
1. Mix the mayo and pesto together
2. Slice 2 chicken breasts in half and place on plastic film as pictured, put another piece of plastic on the top and pound with a tenderizer until they are even. Place in a vessel and drizzle with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
3. Heat up a skillet, slice your rolls in half and drizzle with olive oil then toast in the skillet and set aside.
4. In the same skillet (because it is already hot) start to sear your chicken breasts, flip over, place the cheese on top and then toss it in the oven for about 4-5 minutes.

5. While chicken is finishing in the oven, dress your bread with the pesto mayonnaise.

6. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked thru, finish assembling your sandwich and serve.
I accompanied mine with a simple salad with oil and vinegar.


Have a great weekend and a great St. Patty's Day.


James with wife Lisa

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