Grilling during the summer is something that I’m sure a lot of us look forward to, however, I sing a bit of a different tune. The middle-Tennessee heat is relentless and the last few weeks have seen us under advisories with a heat index 105°+. So unless you have some sort of overhead cover (which I now finally have), it’s no easy task to work that grill in that searing heat. It’s just HEAT on HEAT.
All of these reasons are EXACTLY why I love every month that ends in ‘-BER’. Just this week, the temperatures have come down out of the 90’s and leaves are beginning to turn. College football has started and the NFL is almost ready to go. The kids have started school and we’re saying goodbye to summer.
In part, because it makes food so juicy, I tend to use my Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Grill year-round, but for me, summer specifically lends itself to burgers, dogs, brats, wings, ribs amongst other things. But the autumn months are a time for me to break from the norm and get into something a little more adventurous–which is also made possible by my “forgiving” Char-Broil TRU-Infrared grill.
While the weekdays may be busy with homework and sports, this sandwich and salad combo doesn’t take much time at all and it’s perfect if you want to show your guests a little something different.
INGREDIENTS (serves 2-3):
FOR THE SANDWICH:
- One loaf French Bread
- EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
- One bottle of Italian Dressing (as a marinade)
- Heirloom tomatoes
- Balsamic Glaze or Reduction
- One ball of fresh mozzarella (or pre-sliced)
- Few sprigs of fresh basil
FOR THE SALAD
- Head or two of Romaine lettuce
- Two lemons
- Two avocados
- One container of Creme Fraiche
- A few hours before you’re ready to grill, drop your chicken breasts into a container or gallon Ziploc along with the entire bottle of Italian Dressing. This flavor will settle in, but the oil will also keep the breasts from sticking to the grate too badly.
- I generally lay my breasts onto the grill for about 2-3 minutes, then turn in order to get nice grill marks. Once flipped, I keep them on for another 3-4 minutes – it all depends on how hot your grill is. The great part about the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Grill is that it distributes heat evenly through the porcelain-coated cast-iron grates so I never have to worry about hot and cold spots or flare-ups.
- I pull the chicken from the grill and cover it with saran wrap to keep the juices contained.
- Halve the Romaine Lettuce.
- Slice the French Bread on a bias.
- Brush both the lettuce and bread with a moderate amount of EVOO.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the Romaine.
- Place the Romaine lettuce face-down on the grill and lower the heat to medium-low. You don’t want to incinerate the lettuce, but rather see the core sweat a bit and the leaves begin to wilt and even take on a little bit of char.
- Place the French Bread slices on the grates just to add some marks and get them a little bit toasty.
- At this point, your time with the 725 square inches of Char-Broil TRU-Infrared cooking space is done if you have a Commercial Series 4-Burner like mine. Between the chicken and bread, you’ve added an entirely new flavor profile to your sandwich. And the light char you put on that Romaine lettuce is going to combine brilliantly with the acid in the lemon and creamy smoothness of the creme fraiche.
Now it’s time to build them both. I start with the salad…
- Add a few small spoonfuls of creme fraiche to the bottom of your plate.
- Lay each half of Romaine on a plate over the creme fraiche.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a few squeezes of lemon juice.
- Add sliced avocado.
Now, to put that sandwich together…
- Remove the Saran Wrap from your chicken and begin to cut the breasts on a bias. I always take the remaining juices that have accumulated and pour them over the sliced chicken.
- I put down a layer of chicken first, followed by a layer of heirloom tomatoes and then slices of fresh mozzarella.
Once the three layers are on…
- I drizzle the sandwiches with a little EVOO AND Balsamic Glaze/reduction and top it with a sprig or a few leaves of fresh basil.
All told, aside from the marinade, this took me less than an hour to put together. It’s a little different than the traditional things you might grill AND doesn’t leave you feeling like you need to be dumped into a wheelbarrow to get you to your car afterward.
Don’t let yourselves think that only meat is fit for your Char-Broil grill! And if your kids are having trouble eating vegetables, give them a few flips over that evenly-distributed heat and see what happens!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was a sponsored post on behalf of Char-Broil and their TRU-Infrared cooking technology, however, the sizzle and smells that came off that grill are all mine. For more information on Char-Broil, check them out HERE, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.