dabbling in sandwiches
So it's not very often that I make and/or even have sandwiches. Do I love sandwiches? Absolutely. Can I make a darn good one? Sure! But I guess it's just not my first go to - unless I have leftover pork, some white cheddar, and pickles on hand...then it's Cubano time! But that's beside the point. Also, very rarely do I fry foods. Just a personal thing I guess. I think it's the lingering smell of fryer oil that gets me, or the fact that I assume I'll forget just how hot that oil is and probably injure myself. Personal cooking biases aside, when the man wants a fried chicken sandwich, he sure as heck is going to get a fried chicken sandwich! And that he did. Inspired by the most recent cover of Bon Appetit - because really, that sandwich looks so delicious - this sandwich has a little bit of kick, a little sweetness, and is just all around flavorful. So if you have any anti-frying or anti-sandwich rules, push those aside for the day, and make this sandwich! Everyone will be satisfied!
Fried Chicken Sandwich with Apple, Cabbage, and Jalapeno Slaw
2 large chicken breasts, pounded for even thickness and halved (or 4 small)
2 cups buttermilk
Fresh ground black pepper
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 green apple, julienned
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup minced bread and butter pickles
2 limes - Juice & zest of 1 lime, the other cut in wedges
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
~ 2 cups flour
1 tsp hot paprika (or more if you want it extra spicy)
Vegetable or olive oil
4 ciabatta buns, sliced - or any other good crunch roll
To start, place the chicken breasts in a pan or plastic bag with enough buttermilk to coat. Let sit for at least 30 min., or if you're way ahead of yourself, a couple hours. Right before cooking, toss together the slaw. In a small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt and lime juice (this will thin out the yogurt a bit). Combine with the cabbage, onion, apple, garlic, pickles, and cilantro, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to assemble the sandwich.
When you're ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the bag/pan, and pat dry. Set up two small pans - one with flour, the other with the remaining buttermilk. In the flour pan, whisk in about 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, and the paprika. In a high-sided frying pan, pour in about an inch worth of oil in the pan, and bring it to temperature over medium heat. You can use olive oil if you really keep a close eye on the oil and not let it start smoking - if you're concerned about it, just go ahead and use regular vegetable oil! While the oil is heating up, you can coat the chicken breasts. First, dip it in the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, then back into the flour mixture again. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. I always tell when my oil is ready by flicking a little water into it - if it jumps around and sizzles, you're ready to go! Gently place each chicken breast into the oil, and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Flip and repeat. When the chicken breasts are down, transfer to a wire rack to drain and rest, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
While the chicken is resting, toast up the rolls. You can easily just toast those bad boys up, or you can brush the interior with olive oil and toast them in a pan - I suggest the latter! Cook it up until golden brown and warm. Now you're ready to assemble!
On each bun, place a hefty amount of the coleslaw - top of the bun, bottom, both - whichever you prefer. Finish with the fried chicken, topped with a few cilantro leaves and lime zest, and serve with a wedge of lime. If you want a little extra kick, you can always make a sriracha mayo and slather it on the bottom.
Put the bun back together and devour. So good! I liked this sandwich so much that I actually made it four times...and that's a lot to say about a sandwich....especially when it involves frying! The chicken was SUPER crispy, and SUPER juicy on the inside - literally, perfect. This combined with the fresh flavors and zestiness of the cole slaw was a definite home run. A definite keeper!