Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Spicy Chipotle Fried Chicken Sandwich

bread, tomato, lemon, chipotle pepper and Bon Appetit magazine in place for cooking
Getting ready for the chicken sandwich!
Something that I have come to realize is that good food is not a measure of fancy techniques or fancy ingredients. A simple meal such as a Chicken Sandwich can be the best meal ever if all elements of the meal are made fresh and made with care. It is with this thought in mind that I set off on my chicken sandwich odyssey this past Tuesday night. The whole idea of making fried chicken has been on my mind ever since I got the June issue of Bon Appetit and read the story on Nashville's Hot Fried Chicken. The idea of eating spicy chicken stayed with me for over a month. In that month, I also picked up the June/July issue of Saveur and I was faced with a story on the Nashville Fried Chicken phenomenon again.
When I finally gave in to the thoughts of chicken at the back of my mind, I had to make something that would be relatively quick and easy to make. I settled on frying a chicken breast. Then I thought to myself, "How are you going to eat this breast?" From deep within (okay...not so deep), I decided to make the sandwich because I also wanted to try fleshing out an idea for a sauce that I had been tossing about in my head. I decided to make a honey chipotle sauce for the sandwich. To balance that out, I made garlic aioli at home. I used this recipe from Epicurious.

Freshly made garlic aioli in a pyrex dish
Homemade garlic aioli
Chipotle pepper is something that I felt in love with the first time I cooked with it last year. The smokiness of the pepper in adobo sauce had me hooked and I knew this was something I wanted to play with. I am a huge fan of smokiness in food. Perhaps this because when I was growing up in Nigeria, smoky food often meant party food or celebratory meals. I have good thoughts and memories of smokiness.

The cabbage slaw was a minute decision. I actually had a bit of consultation at the grocery store when I was looking for bread to support the flavors in the sandwich. I eventually settled on Iggy's Ciabatta Sandwich roll. Iggy's is a local bakery in Boston that makes the most amazing breads. Their ciabatta sandwich is amazing because it is crusty on the outside but still really flexible. On the inside, it is a slightly doughy with pronounced holes that hold the flavor of the sauces amazingly well.

Tomato, cabbage, fried chicken and dressed ciabatta sandwich roll on a white chopping board
Tomato, cabbage, fried chicken and dressed ciabatta sandwich roll

Spicy Chipotle Fried Chicken Sandwich serves 1

For the Fried Chicken

1 Small Chicken Breast pounded out into a paillard
1/2 Cup of buttermilk
1 Egg
1 Tbsp of hot sauce
1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup of Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup of Peanut Oil
Salt & Pepper

For Honey Chipotle Sauce makes 1/4 cup

4 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1/4 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp of Honey
1/4 Cup of Warm Water

For Cabbage
1/4 Lb of Cabbage finely shredded
1/2 Lemon juiced
1 Tbsp of Sea Salt

1 Sandwich roll
1 Tomato sliced
1 Tbsp Mayonaise

1. Season the chicken breast that has been pounded out with salt and pepper. Allow to sit in fridge until ready to use
2. Combine the shredded cabbage, lemon and salt in a big bowl. After ten minutes, cabbage should have released lots of water. Drain water from the cabbage using a cheese cloth or paper towel to ensure that it is really dry. Chill this in the fridge.
3. For the honey chipotle sauce, blend the chipotle peppers and water in a blender until semi-smooth. Pour that in a pan before adding in the apple cider vinegar and dissolving in the honey. Slowly reduce the mixture over heat until it has consistency of a thick syrup. Make sure this is done over low gradual heat so that the honey does not burn. Once the consistency is okay, allow it to cool.
4. Whisk together buttermilk, egg and hot sauce. Season the flour and the breadcrumbs separately in flat plates.
5 When all other components of sandwich are cooked, it is time to fry the chicken. Put the peanut oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Drop the chicken into the buttermilk mixture and ensure it is well coated. Then drag the chicken through the flour to get it coated on both sides. Return it back to the buttermilk and then coat with breadcrumbs.
5. Fry on chicken on both sides until crust is golden brown and crunchy in peanut oil. Retrieve chicken from heat and place in a plate with paper towel to get off excess oil.
6. Assemble the sandwich.
Spicy Chipotle Fried Chicken Sandwich
Spicy Chipotle Fried Chicken Sandwich