Wifey Nadia is always giving me grief for writing essentially the same intro for Fat Dude posts.
I usually say something like “OMG, blah blah blah … I’ve never tried this food and liked it before, but Chef Brian’s amazing … whatever, whatever … make this dish.”
She’s right about the setup — though I mostly write that way because Chef Brian is amazing and tends to make delicious things from foods I’ve stayed away from or never had — but Week 22, Meal 3: Open-faced grilled chicken sandwich with fresh mozzarella and a tomato and olive relish was one dish where the tables were turned.
“Olives and anchovies, yucky,” she repeated over and over. Then she had a bite of this fancy half-sandwich and in an instant she was converted.
Week 22, Meal 3: Open faced grilled chicken sandwich with fresh mozzarella and a tomato and olive relish
Chicken and grilled sourdough
1 10-12 oz. chicken breast, butterflied all the way through
2 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
2 slices sourdough, 1-1 1/2 oz each
1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tomato and olive relish
1 red heirloom tomato, diced (heirlooms you can dice the entire tomato)
1/3 cup gaeta olives, pitted and sliced (kalamata if you can’t find gaeta)
1 T basil, chiffonade
1 lemon, juiced
1 T capers
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1 T olive oil
In a Magic Bullet or with a mortar and pestle, grind 2 anchovies, 1 T of capers, 1 clove of garlic and 1 shallot until it is a thick paste.
Add the juice of 1 lemon and 1 T of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
Pitt and slice 1/3 cup of olives and dice 1 heirloom tomato. Drop the thin slice on 1 T of basil. Reserve, as well.
Next, preheat your grill to high and then prepare what’s gonna go on it.
Butterfly 1 chicken breast and season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill each side for 2-3 minutes.
Just before the chicken is cooked, top each piece with 1 slice of mozzarella.
Brush 2 slices of sourdough with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Grill the beread until you get nice char marks and the bread is nicely toasted on the oiled side.
Combine the wet relish ingredients with the dry relish ingredients.
To plate: Place the grilled sourdough on the plate. Top with cheesy chicken and top that with the relish. Ta-da!
Nadia was on the fence about the fish because of the flavor and the texture of the olives (I don’t like olives much either, to be truthful). But this dish is all about balance — matching intense salt with intense sour; evening mouthfeel with soft tomato and meaty olive; and brightening it all up with a bunch of basil.
The chicken is juicy, and the cheese acts as a creamy, neutral barrier between the seasoned meat and bread and potent relish.
So, you know, like … OMG, blah blah blah … Chef Brian’s amazing … whatever, whatever … MAKE THIS DISH.