The return of warm weather is synonymous with many things. For men and women who love to grill, spring marks a return to grilling their favorite foods and dining outdoors.
Grilled chicken makes for a healthy meal the whole family can enjoy. Grilled chicken sandwiches, such as the following recipe for Grilled Chicken Ciabatta with Romesco and Baby Greens from “The Gardener & The Grill: The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill” (Running Press), can make for a nice change of pace from more traditional grilling fare.
2 loaves ciabatta or 4 ciabattini (ciabatta rolls), sliced in half lengthwise
Olive oil, for brushing
Fine kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to a ½-inch thickness
½ recipe Romesco Sauce (see below)
Small wedge (about 4 ounces) of Manchego or
Parmesan cheese, for shaving
2 cups baby greens
Prepare a hot fire in the grill
Brush the cut sides of the ciabatta with olive oil. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
Grill the chicken, turning once, for 5 minutes total. Grill the ciabatta, cut sides down, until it has good grill marks, 1 to 2 minutes.
Slather all the grilled sides of the ciabatta with the Romesco. Place the chicken breasts on the bottom half of the bread, shave some Manchego cheese over the chicken, then top with baby greens and the top half of the bread. If you’re using a loaf of ciabatta, you’ll have 2 chicken breasts on each loaf, so cut each loaf in half horizontally. If you’re using ciabattini, you’ll use 1 breast for each roll. Serve immediately.
Romesco Sauce (2 cups)
½ cup toasted slivered almonds
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 slice white bread (crust removed), toasted and crumbled
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, grind the almonds. Add roasted peppers, garlic, bread, parsley, and hot pepper flakes. Blend until it becomes a paste. Add the vinegar and pulse to blend. With the motor running, gradually pour the olive oil through the feed tube in a steady stream until the mixture thickens like mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.