Sunday, May 6, 2012

grilled chicken sandwiches

For a little while there, it seemed like summer was coming.

I got all cocky: hanging laundry outside to dry, busting out the rosé, buying a fragile little basil plant . . .

I think you can guess where this is going. It is now cold and wet and gloomy and I can't believe I wasn't wearing socks just a few days ago. (May showers bring June flowers?)

Anyway, back when I thought summer was coming, I made our favourite summer sandwich.

The original recipe calls for a barbecue but since we keep thinking we're moving and decide we don't want to move a barbecue across the country, we've adapted this recipe over the years for our handy electric grill. The chicken takes a bit longer to cook, but it still makes the happy grill marks that I think look kind of professional.

Also, we marinade the chicken in this genius concoction for which I take no credit, but which does lovely, lovely things to the chicken, making it all tender and tasty.

After marinating and grilling, it's pretty easy: slather your bread with the lemon-garlic mayo, pile it up with grilled chicken, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted pepper and havarti cheese, try to get a bite in before everything pops out onto your plate, and you're in business.

This is one of our favourite meals to serve company because you can do everything ahead of time except grill the chicken. Heck, even the chicken is fine if it's just warm and not hot.

After that, everyone can build their own sandwich with whatever they like. Also, you just have to have a good time licking your fingers and chasing pieces of messy sandwich around your plate. Instant happy dinner party!

In fact, I have proof that this sandwich creates fond memories in our guests. We made this for our friend Richard back when we all lived in Ottawa.

Last year, he lived in Japan and came to visit us. I asked if there was any Canadian food he was longing for and I would make it for him. What do you think Richard requested? That's right: this sandwich.

So, you see, it's kind of hard to go wrong. Change the filling, use a real barbecue, make your own mayonnaise from scratch.

Do what you want and you'll still love this sandwich. This, I am confident of. Summer, not so much.

one year ago: sour cream coffee cake
two years ago: putting asparagus on pizza

grilled chicken sandwich
adapted from Canadian Living

chicken marinade
2 tbsp. neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar*
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. grainy mustard
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
freshly-ground pepper
2 good-sized boneless, skinless chicken breast

lemon-garlic mayo
6 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced

sandwich filling 
1 red pepper, roasted** and sliced
1/2 c. oil-packed sundried tomatoes, sliced
1 1/2 c. havarti cheese, grated
1 avocado, sliced
your favourite bread to make the sandwiches

Mix all the ingredients of the marinade together and coat the chicken. Let stand for 10 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Mix all the ingredients of the lemon-garlic mayo together and put in a small bowl.

Prepare the sandwich filling items (slice, grate, etc.).

There are two ways to grill the chicken:

1. Grill the chicken on an electric grill set to medium-high until done. Turn once while it's cooking.
2. Grill the chicken on the greased grill of your barbecue set to medium heat. Close the lid and grill, turning once, until it's not pink inside, about 10 minutes.

Slice the chicken and assemble your sandwiches. If you like, grill them once they're filled in order to get the cheese to melt (but I don't).

* I ran out of red wine vinegar and used white wine vinegar instead. Still yummy!
** To roast that pepper, cut out the innards and put the three or four big pieces of flesh you have left on a pie plate. Roast it in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.


  1. I could definitely see myself sinking my teeth into one (maybe two) of those sandwiches. Looks amazing!

  2. I just made a variation of this (well, that's pushing it - but it inspired me and I used the marinade :) for the elderly friend who's so generously letting me live with her until I leave for G. We loved it - thanks!

  3. How many does this feed? I'm guessing two? Or do the chicken breasts stretch further? Lunch for 4-6 people - looks like a good pick! Just wondering if I need to double or triple the recipe?

  4. You're right -- the chicken breasts do stretch further because they're sliced . . . We often feed 4 with it and have quite a bit left for our lunches the next day. So I think you could feed 6. Although, of course, if you feel the chicken breasts are on the small side, add another. The great thing is that everyone can just take what they want for the toppings and build their own sandwich. Enjoy!