Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Taste of the Isles Chicken Sandwich

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I know trust me...
When you think of the Greek Islands what do you think of?  You think of sun, sand, water and FOOD!!
You know the food is going to be infused with mouth watering olive oil, olives, cheeses, peppers, vegetables...
This is my recreation of the "Greek Islands".  I however wanted it in an even/Steven sandwich.  I wanted all the flavors melding into one... The memories are rising (excuse me while I go play some Greek music).

I was yearning for that "Taverna feel".  You are roaming the Island, you find a nice tavern, sit outside as you watch the ocean and attractions... you order your beverage and "meze" - (appetizers).  They bring you the beverages, and mezethes.  Let's chinck glasses, "Stein igeia sas" means to your health!
Let's take our first sip of our beverages.  Mmmmm, okay, where are our forks? Let's dig into scrumptious olives, sharp cheeses, outstanding grape leaves, world renowned tzatziki sauce (aka yogurt cucumber sauce) and then fork into the grilled pieces of chicken, beef or lamb, or my ultimate favorite, meatballs!  Can you taste it?  But wait, now let's take our crusty bread and just sop up the amazing juices of the always accompanying salad. 
Chock full of tomatoes, peppers, onions, olive oil dressing and of course, more olives and cheese!!  A feast for the Gods I say!!
Sitting at that amazing Taverna with the most beautiful ocean view you have ever seen, we laugh, drink and eat with our friends. We watch the fisherman bringing in their bounty, the children frolicking, tourists sunbathing and swimming, the native ladies gossiping (common, you knew I was going to say that), the men playing checkers and bickering about politics all while drinking their coffees on outside tables... "ah yes", island life!!

The air is so warm, almost like a caress against your face, and full of enticing aromas.  You can smell a hint of the jasmine growing all over the island.  The succulent roasting meats, the wonderful aroma of fresh baking bread at the bakery next door, and last but not least, the slight saltiness in the warm breeze reminds you how close you are to the Aegean sea!!  
Are you with me?  So that being said, this is how this sandwich came to be.  I was craving the saltiness of the olives and cheese.  The sweet succulence of the peppers, toppled by the crustiness of the bread.  Add in the chicken, and the amazing topping sauce...  and well all I can tell you, it's the "Islands coming to you"!!
Ready for the recipe without travel?  Here we go;
Chicken ingredients:
3 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup olive tapenade
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Topping Ingredients:
3 cups arugula (or favorite salad green)
1-1/4 cups roasted red peppers drained
1/2 cup red onions sliced thin
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup Kasseri cheese shaved thin (gruyere and provolone cheeses are excellent alternatives)

Sun-dried Tomato/Red Pepper Sauce:
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I use the dehydrated and rehydrate, much more affordable)
1/3 cup roasted red peppers drained
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 garlic clove pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Extra ingredients:
1 large Italian bread loaf or Ciabatta loaf 
 Let's make our tomato/red pepper sauce!
-In a food processor, add all your ingredients except the mayonnaise.  Pulse till smooth.  In a small bowl add your tomato/pepper sauce and mix well with the mayonnaise.  Cover with wrap and place in refrigerator to chill.

-Using a serrated knife, cut your bread vertically in half, set aside.  Grate/shave your cheese in a bowl, set aside

-Slice your chicken into medallion slices. Set chicken aside.

-In a large saute pan over medium high heat, add your 3 tbsp of olive oil, let heat, add your chicken medallions.  Saute the chicken slices till no longer pink on one side, and flip over, sprinkle your garlic powder and your thyme.  Let the chicken cook till it is no longer pink on this side as well.  Spread your olive tapenade over the chicken, lower the heat to low, cover and let the chicken cook till it is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

-As the chicken is cooking, in a large bowl, add your arugula, and your olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Toss till arugula is coated, set aside.

-Spread your tomato/pepper sauce on both sides of your loaf.  Add the now dressed arugula to the bottom portion of your bread.  Sprinkle the feta cheese over the dressed arugula leaves.

Look at the beautiful dressed leaves... yum! 

-Place your roasted red pepper strips and your onion slices over the bottom part of the loaf.

-Now let's place the chicken medallions right over the peppers and onions.  Whatever tapenade is left in the pan, drizzle over the chicken. 

 -Immediately sprinkle with cheese, the heat of the chicken will melt the cheese just beautifully!

This is a perfect weeknight or quick meal dinner that is utterly delicious and satisfying that will transport you to the Greek Islands!  Opa!!

Till next time!!
Dishin with Didi


  1. O Didi! I had to physically push my mouth closed before I started drooling down my chin! YUM! Looks SO good!

    1. Thank you Teresa! So very easy too my friend!!