Week 22, Meal 3: Caper-olive-anchovy surprise

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.

Surprise!

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
Cooking spray

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
2 anchovies
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.

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4 thoughts on “Week 22, Meal 3: Caper-olive-anchovy surprise”

  1. Greetings, Jon Ludwick here in Harlan, Iowa. Just got back from visiting the homeland, HB. Had an awesome time putting on the pounds at places like the Spaghetti Bender in Newport and Munchies Pizza in HB. Harlan, Iowa has Pizza Hut, Burger King, and Subway, so going to OC is quite the culinary treat. Anyway, been on a juice fast for 8 days, and I am really getting a treat checking out your recipes, and I think the first one i will try, when i complete my fast Sunday, will be the above recipe. One of my old classmates sent me the link to your sight, and it is awesome. Started a lower carb diet and exercise program in Nov. of 10 and dropped from 285 to 220 in about 6 mos. Trying to get to 200, but the HB trip did not help. Currently at 215. Just got to keep it up. jon

    1. Awesome Jon, thanks for leaving a comment! I haven’t much heard people say OC is a culinary vacation, though, now that I think about it, I would have to agree with you. We’re small and underrated, but pack a big punch!

      Your weight loss is impressive to me, and for someone who’s trying to do the same, congratulations my friend. I hope you keep me up to date on your progress, as no doubt you’ll be seeing mine on here. And if you have any meal or theme ideas let me know!

      And if you cook something and you like it, let me know! This anchovy-chicken-bread thing is really, really delicious, so I know you’ll be happy with this one.

      niyaz.

  2. Made this dish last night. Very quick and easy, and super tasty. I doubled the anchove/kaper/garlic paste part of this recipe and reserved half. I used the reserved half to spread 1T on the topside of the sourdough plank. The bread did not get soggy, and the extra taste great. Wife gobbled it down pretty good too. This was a 10 recipe. Tomorrow night, Fishgasm.

    1. Oh, awesome! Glad you enjoyed it! This was one of my favorites too … I’m not much of an olive tepanade person — or at least I thought I wasn’t — but this dish made me so happy. And enjoy the fishgasm! It’s gonna blow your mind!

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