I’ve been eyeballing this recipe for months.
Caroline, at Sweet Caroline’s Cooking, posted her slider recipe right about the time I posted my Meatball Sliders. (Great minds think alike, you know.) Anyways, it looked so delicious, but I knew I’d have to gear up to make them.
There were lots of parts to this recipe, and to make my baking-addiction-side happy, I knew that I wanted to make some homemade rolls to serve the sliders on. So this was a several day project.
So worth it!
You may remember the Hawaiian Rolls from earlier this week. Well, now you know their purpose and will be happy to hear that their culinary destiny has been fulfilled.
I do so like fulfilling culinary destinies. It makes me happy.
Grilled Chicken Sliders with Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese, and Basil Aioli, adapted from Sweet Caroline’s Kitchen
1 c good mayonnaise (I actually made my own and will include that recipe at the bottom)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 T dried basil, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients.
6 T + extra, extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T dried basil
1 t coarse kosher salt, or to taste
1 t freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
4 large plum tomatoes (about 1 lb), quartered lengthwise
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Stir oil, garlic, dried basil, pinch of salt and pepper in large bowl to blend. Add tomato quarters and stir to coat. Let stand 5 minutes, or more. Line baking sheet with foil and remove tomatoes from marinade. Arrange tomatoes, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet (reserve leftover marinade for hamburger buns).
Roast tomatoes until skin is browned and blistered and tomatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. Cool tomatoes on sheet.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded
salt and pepper, for seasoning
garlic basil oil, leftover from roasted tomatoes
fresh basil leaves
Pound 2 raw chicken breasts, then cut into thirds. Season with salt and pepper. Spray grill with vegetable spray, then place chicken on the grill. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Once chicken is cooked, place a generous slice of fresh mozzarella cheese on top of each piece. Close grill and cook until cheese is melted.
Brush both sides of hamburger buns with the leftover oil from the tomatoes. Place buns face down on grill and cook until toasted.
Put together and serve.
[Homemade Mayonnaise, adapted from Anne Burrell foodnetwork.com
3 egg yolks
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 olive oil
Place the egg yolks in the bowl of the food processor and add the vinegar and mustard. Season with salt, to taste. Turn the machine on and VERY slowly start to drizzle in the oil. Drip, drip, drip until the mixture starts to look like mayonnaise, then a slow steady stream of oil can be added.]
I wasn’t originally planning on making this dish as complicated as it ended up. I had to make the rolls, though. I just knew they would be the perfect complement to the basil/garlic/tomato/chicken flavor.
And then, for the aioli, I only had cheapo mayonnaise, so I looked up how to make my own. It seemed really easy, and I had just gotten my very own fancy mini-food-processor (actually I won it from my friend Kate’s site!!)…so I thought why the heck not? Well, I accidentally started with three egg yolks. And then I ran out of vegetable oil, so I had to substitute with olive oil. But you know what, it turned out really good. Lots of flavor – that actually worked well with the ingredients in the aioli.
Then I moved on to the tomatoes. (I had to take this recipe one step at a time or I think I’d've been completely overwhelmed.)
I used fresh tomatoes from our garden – and if you’ve never had fresh vine-picked tomatoes, you are missing out! Look at these lovely beauties:
Roasting them was extremely easy. And the smell. Mmmm… I didn’t realize that I was such a smell person until I started cooking. I had to sample a few, of course, after they were done. Just to make sure they were okay to serve to others. I am so selfless.
Now came the hard part: raw chicken. Hubs had me purchase a whole chicken for a variety of reasons, including giving me a tutorial on how to split up a chicken into all its different pieces. Let’s just say I left after one bone socket was pulled out and cut. It was a little much for me.
Anyways, I did power through my raw meat issues enough to slice and pound the chicken flat. I think that’s at least a step in the right direction.
Then it was grilling time. I was very concerned about the timing of grilling the chicken (to a correct temperature without over-cooking), melting the mozzarella, and grilling the buns. It was a little hectic, but I got it done. Done well, even.
I love the colors that the sandwich has. (Oh, and please ignore my triangular-shaped chicken piece. Apparently, I have issues with matching shapes.)
And it tasted just as good as it looked. The mix of roasted tomatoes with the just-spicy and tangy aioli, paired with the moist chicken. Added to the yeasty-sweet Hawaiian rolls. Oh, my.
It was all I was expecting and more.
And more is always, always good.