Chicken Mozzarella Melt

Like most good ideas, this one a) happened by accident b) is all Mom’s doing.

While dining on a Zaxby nibbler, Mom happened upon a stray slice of cafeteria pizza (best teacher ever, by the way). Not in the mood for pizza and a nibbler, she took some of the cheese off the former and added it to the latter. Her concoction–a cheese, chicken, and lightly marinara-sauced sandwich–turned out to be a glorious, bite-sized helping of Heaven. So, for this week’s Faraway Friday Meal, we put our heads together and came up with a Chicken Mozzarella Melt that will make the inner cheese god in you smile.

You’ll need the Pizzeria Style Sauce and the Favorite Pizza Dough recipe for this meal, so plan ahead.

Buttermilk-and-Herb Fried Chicken
from William-Sonoma’s New Flavors for Chicken: Classic Recipes Redefined with slight changes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Half of 1/3 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tbsp red hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme*
  • 1 package of whole chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1/3-2/3 cup(s) of bread crumbs
  • Pizzeria Style Pizza Sauce

Directions:

  1. In a large, nonreactive bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, 1/2 cup of salt, hot pepper sauce, marjoram, rosemary, sage, and thyme until blended and the salt is dissolved.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half and rinse under cold water. Place in buttermilk mixture and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix together flour, pepper, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Separate chicken into two piles. Pile One: dip chicken into the flour mixture one at a time, coating well. Shake to remove access. Place on a plate.
  4. Add 1/3-2/13 cups of bread crumbs to flour mixture and mix. Pile Two: coat remaining chicken breast slices in this mixture. Shake to remove access. Place on plate.
  5. Preheat stovetop to medium-high heat (a 7 for my stovetop). In a large, cast iron frying pan, add canola oil. Let canola heat until hot but not smoking.
  6. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  7. Place no more than 3 chicken breast slices into the oil at any given time (don’t crowd the pan). Let chicken cook for 4 to 5 minutes and then flip to cook for 4 to 5 additional minutes on the other side. Drain (this is important), and place chicken onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Repeat. Chicken should register 160 degrees  when done (or, you could just use the oh-it-looks-ready-lets-break-open-and-taste-test method. This is the preferred method.)
  8. Drain chicken. Cut into chunks.
  9. Place Pizzeria Style Pizza sauce into a small, lidded sauce pan. Add chicken chunks. Cover and simmer sauce over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preparing the pizza dough

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Ingredients

  • Pizza dough
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 mozzarella cheese block
  • 1/4 cup 5 blend cheese (Asiago, Provolone, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano)
  • Cornmeal, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Dust cornmeal onto pizza stone.
  2. Roll out pizza dough into a (roughly) 10-11 inch circle.
  3. Using the bottom of your rolling pin (or some other small, circular object), press light indentations into the pizza dough.
  4. Drizzle olive oil onto dough. Massage into pizza. Sprinkle garlic powder onto dough.
  5. Top with a light layer of pizza sauce.
  6. Pre-bake for 5-7 minutes at 425 degrees.
  7. Remove from oven and top with remaining layer of pizza/chicken sauce. Add cheeses. Bake for 13-17 minutes or until dough is thoroughly cooked.
  8. Serve with a Caesar salad. Or a salad with Caesar dressing.

 

*I ran out of thyme when I was cooking. I laughed way harder than I should have at this.

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