Trying to decide what to make for both dinner and to feature as my Tribune Cooks recipe was not the easiest decision on a hot and humid afternoon.
I had big plans to recreate a dish made by my favorite chef, but a lack of time, walleye and air conditioning pushed my decision outdoors.
I am a very simple guy. I could easily subsist entirely on college dorm food such as cheeseburgers, pizza, the occasional salad and french fries.
This grilled chicken sandwich, shown here with bacon and provolone, can be topped with whatever your heart desires.
When trying something new, I think of things that I really enjoy and try to do something new with them.
As a simple food eater, I focused my attention on one of my favorite things to eat: the chicken sandwich.
Instead of simply grilling the chicken and throwing it on a bun, as I've done a million times, I decided to go a few different routes in hope that they all converged at the end in an easy and tasty meal.
Grilled chicken sandwich
1 pound of bacon, cooked
Italian dressing (or a marinade of your choice)
Marinate chicken in Italian dressing for two hours. Grill.
Top with provolone and bacon and serve on ciabatta rolls with dressing.
1 cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of butter
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
Saute garlic in butter, then mix with mayonnaise. Spread on sandwich.
First thing I decided to do was to marinate the chicken for a few hours. I used a simple, everyday Italian salad dressing and soaked the chicken for about two hours.
This is where this whole meal can start to change directions. If you would rather marinate in a teriyaki sauce, you can grill pineapple slices and top it off with those. As I said, this sandwich has a million options.
After the chicken was marinated and ready to roll, I turned on the grill and got it nice and hot.
As the grill was getting heated, I threw a pound of bacon in the skillet and cooked it up.
Bacon, to me, is the best tasting food in the entire world. It's delicious, versatile, terrible for you and easy to make. I love bacon.
I prefer to overcook it, get it nice and crisp. Others like it a little chewy, but that's all preference.
The bacon cooked and ready to go, I stepped outside and threw the chicken on the grill.
So far, this was turning out pretty nicely.
Once the chicken was cooked, I placed slices of provolone cheese on top and let it melt. I had wanted to use hot pepper cheese, but sharing it with my family, I thought the milder cheese was better. With something this uncomplicated, you can do so much.
I then placed a couple slices of bacon on top of the cheese and let all three items heat together for a minute or two on the grill before transferring it to a fresh ciabatta roll.
As ciabatta bread can sometimes be dry, it was the perfect match for the very flavorful chicken, bacon and cheese trio.
The final piece of the sandwich puzzle was deciding what to top it with.
One alternative, which I did not use due to the lack of time and ingredients, was a pesto spread. It would go perfectly with the rest of the sandwich.
I also considered, thanks to a suggestion from my wife, a sun-dried tomato spread.
I, however, opted for a garlic mayonnaise that I made up by cooking fresh minced garlic in butter and combining it with mayo.
The final result was very good and passed both the 2-year-old test and the pregnant wife test, both of whom enjoyed it very much.
What I liked most about this sandwich is that there are all the choices. You can top it off with fresh tomatoes and lettuce, or sun-dried tomatoes and spinach and everything in between.
We finished the meal off with corn on the cob and baked / grilled potatoes, which have become a staple at my house this summer.
This whole meal is was simple, tasty and will become a part of my family's dinner rotation for now on.