Friday, September 16, 2011

Sage and apples complement
grilled chicken in lovely fall sandwich

My husband and I made this recipe for the first time just last night, and it was so wonderful I had to share it with you right away.
   Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Sage Pesto and Apples (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine were amazingly delicious.
   Juicy grilled chicken is layered with a fresh-sage pesto and thinly-sliced apples in a toasted bun. All the flavours and textures work together in one harmonious combination of lip-smacking goodness.
   The recipe came from the July 2003 issue of Bon Appetit, which would suggest the magazine editors had this recipe in mind for the height of summer. With the chicken being grilled, that made some sense to me.
   But the other ingredients, the sage and apples, made me think of fall, and that’s when I wanted to give this recipe a whirl.
   Since we made this in early fall, we used an outdoor grill, but I’m sure the chicken would do well being cooked on an indoor grill or grill pan.
   We used whole wheat kaiser rolls for the sandwiches (rather than the suggested focaccia, ciabatta, or French rolls), and they worked well.
   To make the pesto, fresh sage leaves, pine nuts, fresh parsley and garlic are blended in food processor until the mixture is finely chopped. With the machine running, ¾ cup of olive oil is added and the mixture blended more.
   The recipe says that at this point a thick paste will form. I didn’t find that at all – the pesto was smooth, not thick. I didn’t worry about that, though, because my experience with making pesto is that it thickens upon sitting awhile.
   I mixed the grated Parmesan cheese into the pesto, transferred it to a small bowl, and let it sit while the chicken was prepared and grilled. It thickened, just as I suspected it would.
   Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves are placed between sheets of waxed paper or cling wrap and pounded with a rolling pin or meat mallet to ½-inch thickness. The breasts are brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and left to stand for 30 minutes.
   The chicken is grilled until firm to the touch and cooked through, about five minutes per side. The buns or focaccia rectangles are toasted.
   The bottom half of the toasted buns or focaccia rectangles are spread with mayonnaise, then topped with a layer of thinly-sliced apple and a chicken breast. The breast is drizzled with pesto, then more pesto is spread on the top half of the buns. The tops are placed on the chicken, pesto side down.
   Serve and enjoy the savoury sandwich and its lovely layers.

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