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.
Buttermilk-and-Herb Fried Chicken
from William-Sonoma’s New Flavors for Chicken: Classic Recipes Redefined with slight changes
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- 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.)
- Drain chicken. Cut into chunks.
- 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
- 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
- Dust cornmeal onto pizza stone.
- Roll out pizza dough into a (roughly) 10-11 inch circle.
- Using the bottom of your rolling pin (or some other small, circular object), press light indentations into the pizza dough.
- Drizzle olive oil onto dough. Massage into pizza. Sprinkle garlic powder onto dough.
- Top with a light layer of pizza sauce.
- Pre-bake for 5-7 minutes at 425 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.