These sandwiches were born of my need for protein in every dinner.
And the need for a grilled cheese sandwich.
And the fact that we were having gazpacho for dinner, and a grilled cheese and chicken sandwich seemed like it would be the perfect accompaniment!
And the fact that I’m obsessed with fresh mozzarella. And caramelized onions. And basil. And chicken.
And there you have the ingredients!
Slice up the remainder of the red onion from the gazpacho, and throw it on a hot griddle along with one small chicken breast.
Normally I would pound out the chicken so it would cook all the way through quickly, but this time I decided to just sorta spread it out and toss it on the hot skillet.
Pull the onions off when they are fragrant, golden brown, and sweet. On a pan this hot it’ll just take a few minutes.
Meanwhile, while the chicken finishes cooking, gather up the rest or your ingredients. You’ll want a few slices of your very favorite bread. I like the rustic kind with the big holes inside and a thick chewy crust.
Of course, the down side to this is that the ingredients fall through the holes and brown on the pan.
The up side to this is the crusty fried cheese that oozes out through every nook and cranny!
Layer on some thick slices of fresh mozzarella. Don’t be shy with the cheese!
Spread on a little chiffonade basil…
Add some of the caramelized onions…
Really load ’em on there…they’ll be sweet and mild and rich and delicious!
Then, after your chicken has cooked all the way through (about 5 minutes per side for a breast of this size) and rested for a few minutes, slice it thinly and layer that on too.
Leave the skillet on, but lower the heat down to just shy of medium. You’ll need it again in a few minutes!
Throw the other slice of bread on top.
There are two ways to butter a grilled cheese sandwich. You can butter the bread, or you can butter the pan.
I chose to butter the pan, and the reason for that is this: The butter was cold, and wouldn’t spread on the soft bread.
It’s as simple as that, really. You do it the way you want!
Fry until golden brown, crispy, crusty, melty and wonderful!
Food shouldn’t be allowed to be this good, really. Fresh mozzarella is super chewy, and creamy, and wonderful in a grilled cheese sandwich! And the chicken, basil and sweet caramelized onions make this a satisfying meal (especially if paired with some cool, fresh gazpacho!)
Just look at all that gooey deliciousness!
Ok, here’s the instructions. Try it tonight! With your fresh gazpacho!
Grilled Cheese and Chicken Sandwiches
4 slices of your favorite bread
several slices of fresh mozzarella (about 6 oz)
2 tablespoons chiffonade basil
2-3 tablespoons oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 small (8-10 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. When hot, pour the oil on the pan and add the red onion on one side and the chicken breast on the other. Season both with salt and pepper. Cook the onions until tender, sweet, and golden brown, then set aside. Cook the chicken, turning once, until caramelized and cooked through (about 5 minutes per side). Set the chicken aside to rest.
Turn the heat down under the skillet, to just below medium.
Slice the fresh mozzarella into about 1/4″ thick pieces. On two slices of bread, layer the mozzarella, basil, and caramelized onions. Thinly slice the chicken breast and layer that over the other ingredients. Top with the other two slices of bread.
If you have softened butter on hand, spread some on the outside of each sandwich. If you are like me and don’t plan ahead enough to have softened butter just lying around, throw a tablespoon or two onto the skillet and spread it around until melted. Lay the two sandwiches on the butter and cook until golden brown and crispy (about 3 minutes), then flip and cook the other side.
Serve with soup or a salad. Eat and be happy!