Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chicken with Basil-Olive Pesto Sandwich

Sometimes, the idea is so obvious, but you just don't see it, you still need inspiration from seeing an actual recipe.
This was one of those times. Of course pesto can be used on a sandwich. I need to stop thinking of it as a pasta thing.
Pesto is also a great way to use a bunch of the herbs growing out on the deck. We have 2 huge pots of parsley this year and they are thriving. A far cry from our first attempt growing parsley, when a CSA parsley plant turned brown and limp and rubbery in under a month.
I still think the color of pesto is a little... icky. But the taste - mmmm yum. I could taste the basil and parsley, the bit of ground walnut, and the salty tang of the olives.
 A generous spread of pesto on olive oil bread.
 Up close - you can see olive bits and walnut bits.
Add some sliced grilled chicken, tomato, and arugula and you have a very tasty and filling sandwich.

Recipe inspiration: Smoked Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Sandwiches with Basil-Olive Pesto. 

Our version:

Make chicken: Season chicken breasts with Penzey's Northwood seasoning. Grill chicken. Put chicken on a plate and cover with foil while chicken cools. When cooled, pull/slice chicken from the bone (we didn't use boneless breasts) and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Make pesto: using food processor blend 1 cup firmly packed basil, 1 cup firmly packed parsley, and 1/3 cup walnuts. Pour in about 1/4 cup olive oil, blend until mixed well/smooth. Add 1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives. Pulse until mixed through. Put in container, press plastic wrap onto top of pesto, put on container lid, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble sandwiches: Slice olive oil bread from Market District bakery (use a sturdy bread, not a smushy regular bread aisle bread). Smear one or both slices of bread with as much/little pesto as you desire. Make sandwich using chicken, tomato slices, and arugula. Enjoy.

Thoughts for next time: adding fresh mozzarella cheese would be tasty. Maybe mix some sun-dried tomatoes into the pesto. Definitely use more than 1/4 cup kalamatas (we used about 14 olives, maybe use 20 next time).

This is a great idea for a quick dinner. Everything can be prepared ahead of time. We cooked our chicken on Sunday when we grilled the kebabs, and didn't use the chicken until Wednesday. The chicken could be cooked in the oven as well, we just like to grill when we can. We made the pesto Wednesday morning and it kept for 3-4 days, just be sure to keep the plastic wrap pressed on top to keep the pesto from turning brown.

Official Epicurious recipe: Smoked Chicken & Sun Dried Tomato Sandwiches with Basil-Olive Pesto

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