Besides canned tuna packed in olive oil, roasted red peppers are my favorite pantry staple. I always have them on hand because they are wonderful in so many ways: plain on a quick antipasto plate, mixed with olives in a tapenade, or layered scrumptiously in a chicken and goat cheese sandwich. Tonight's middle of the week dinner highlights the sweet flavor of these peppers in a divine take on the classic chicken sandwich. To get this tasty recipe that comes together in no time,
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 lb.)
4 1-inch-thick bias-cut slices Italian or French bread
1/4 cup semi-soft cheese with herbs or semi-soft goat cheese (chevre)
1 cup roasted red sweet peppers (about one 7-oz. jar), cut into strips
1/2 cup fresh watercress, basil, or baby spinach leaves
- In a small dish whisk together the oil, vinegar, thyme, salt, and crushed red pepper. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade.
- Place chicken between 2 sheets of waxed paper; pound lightly with a meat mallet to make an even thickness about 1/2-inch thick; place in a plastic bag. Add the remaining marinade. Seal bag and marinate about 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Lightly grease the rack of an indoor electric grill or lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill.
- Brush cut sides of bread with reserved marinade; place bread, cut side down, on grill rack. If using a covered grill, close the lid. Grill until lightly toasted. (For a covered grill, allow 1 to 2 minutes; for an uncovered grill, allow 2 to 4 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling.) Remove bread from grill; set aside.
- Place chicken on the grill rack. If using a covered grill, close the lid. Grill until chicken is tender and no longer pink. (For a covered grill, allow 3 to 4 minutes; for an uncovered grill, allow 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling.) Remove from grill and spread or sprinkle with cheese.
- To serve, place one chicken breast on each grilled bread slice. Top with roasted pepper strips and watercress.
Conventional Method: Prepare as above through Step 1. Toast bread slices in a skillet or grill pan or on a griddle over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove bread from pan or griddle. Place chicken in the skillet, grill pan, or on the griddle. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender and no longer pink, turning once. Remove from pan or griddle and spread or sprinkle with cheese. Serve as directed above.