Welcome to "Dinner in a Pinch" with Chef Jamie Koehler, a quick and easy guide to creating restaurant quality meals and side dishes for you and your family.
"I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day!" Yes! As the lyrics suggest, this Rock Star Chicken Pesto Sandwich was a simple but scrumptious sandwich that I made for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Band "KISS" and their crew during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2010. The Band's make-up artist and touring manager Beth said it was one of the best things they had eaten while on tour that year.
You can grill or saute your chicken breasts in a pan with olive oil as I did when I made this sandwich for the first time. This recipe serves eight.
You will need:
4 large chicken breasts (remove chicken from refrigerator at least 1/2 hour prior to placing the chicken in the pan). Rinse with cool water and pat dry with a paper towel then season with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
8 ciabatta rolls sliced in half sandwhich-style
1 large jar refrigerated basil pesto (it should be a bright green in color)
1 large jar Hellman's Mayonnaise (family size)
the zest of one fresh lemon
4 roma tomatoes
3 balls of fresh mozzarella cheese
1 bunch fresh rinsed crisp romaine lettuce
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
6 or more tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of pan)
You will also need two medium sized mixing bowls, a cutting board, a large chef's knife and two rubber spatulas or two wooden spoons plus one spatula to flip your chicken in the pan.
1) Prep your lettuce and tomatoes and cut your cheese into 1/2 thick slices. Your tomatoes should be cut into at least 1/4 inch thick circles and you need to rinse your lettuce in cool water and pat dry with a paper towel,,, slice or break your romaine into pieces the same length as the ciabatta rolls.
2) Prepare two mayo spreads/mixes
a) 1 & 3/4 cup mayo with the zest of one lemon folded in to mix evenly.
b) 2 & 1/2 cup mayo with 1 & 1/2 cup pesto
3) Heat olive oil in a large skillet and put in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook at medium to medium high heat until cooked all the way through for at least 4 - 5 minutes on each side. Cut your chicken in half with a knife and ensure doneness. Remove from the pan and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
4) Chop your chicken roughly into 1 inch square pieces then (Mix your chicken with the second mayo-pesto mixture) Mix your cooked chicken with the second mayo-pesto mixture adding a little salt and pepper and half the juice of one lemon to taste.
5) Spread the first lemon-mayo mixture on both sides of your ciabatta rolls; pile 3 - 4 tablespoons of the Rock Star Chicken Pesto mixture evenly onto the bottom half of your ciabatta rolls. Top with two - three slices of your fresh mozzarella cheese, then tomato slices and finish with the romaine lettuce pieces on top.
If you LOVE pesto feel free to add a little extra on top or into your mayo mixture. You can't go wrong with this one... I mean, if it's good enough for a Rock Star and their crew then it's good enough for you and your crew! Enjoy!
Chef Jamie Koehler earned his stripes in the French Culinary tradition and has served as a Personal Chef for the Rock Band ``KISS", "John Fogerty" and the "Kenny Chesney'' Band. An Executive Chef for over 20 years. He now proudly calls Cass County and Atlantic, Iowa home.