We had a wave of summer up here in Ohio over the last few weeks…seriously, 80 degrees and SUN! Its been so crazy; we broke temperature records from the 1930s and we had to mow grass!! This is a big deal – I’ve seen blizzards in April some years and now I’m thinking about planting my garden in a few weeks (I normally wait until the end of May). This weather is border-line creepy… but I like it.
Warm weather calls cooking and eating outdoors, didn’t you know that? I decided to christen the grill with Jerk Chicken Paninis (a Epiphany I had during work. Don’t judge me – I work for a food company and therefore always have food on the brain). These have an awesome combo of sweet and spicy that I think you’ll LOVE. Enjoy!
- Fresh sour dough bread, cut into 8 1 1/2 inch slices
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fileted
- Jerk rub (I used this)
- 4 1/2 inch rings of fresh pineapple
- 1 Haas avocado, mashed
- 16 slices pepper jack cheese
Rub the chicken with the seasoning and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Grill the chicken until cooked. Also grill the pineapple rings until grill marks are visible on both sides.
To assemble the panini, butter the outsides of the bread. Layer on the toppings in this order (trust me, this is an art – you don’t want soggy bread from the pineapple!): slice of cheese, chicken, pineapple, and another slice of cheese. Spread avocado on the other slice of bread and before placing on the sandwich. Using a panini press (or the grill since you’ve already got it hot), grill the paninis until toasted and cheese is melted.
This dinner is 100% courtesy of Branden. My only major contribution was the fact that I ran down the street to the bakery for some fresh sour dough bread. Go me!
Branden found this recipe in his new grilling cookbook that I surprised him with a few weeks ago. The recipes and photos are fabulous and we’re really excited to try more recipes this summer, especially since this one turned out so well. Follow this recipe to the “T” and you won’t be disappointed!
On a side note, if you’re looking for a good cookbook, I have to say that Branden and I have about a dozen different ones by Williams-Sonoma and they have never disappointed. The cookbooks are well written and always have pictures and tips. They actually make for good reading; the grilling cookbook talks about different cuts of meat, grilling techniques, and game plans for executing the recipes. Williams-Sonoma definitely knows what they’re doing in terms of making a well-rounded book that can be enjoyed by novices and master chefs alike.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 oz. each
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- Olive oil for brushing
- 8 slices of fontina cheese
- 8 slices of sourdough bread
- 8 thick tomato slices
- 4 TBS basil pesto, homemade or store-bought (we used store bought because we figured homemade might kill our basil plant this early in the season)
- Season the chicken breat halves with salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly with the Italian seasoning. Brush lightly on all sides with the oil.
- Prepare the charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Brush and oil the grill grate.
- Place the chicken on the grill directly over the fire and cook until nicely grill-marked and relatively firm to the touch, 6-8 minutes on each side depending on the thickness. You want the chicken to be opaque throughout but still moist and juicy inside. About 2 minutes before the chicken is ready, place 2 slices of the cheese on each breast half, cover the grill, and allow the cheese to melt. Put the bread slices along the edge of the grill at the same time, and turn once after 1 minute to toast both sides.
- Transfer the chicken and bread slices to a cutting board. Spread the bread slices with the mayonnaise, if desired. Cut each breast half against the grain on the diagonal into 3-4 pieces. Arrange 1 sliced breast half on each of 4 bread slices. Top with 2 tomato slices, and then top the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the pesto, spreading it evenly over the tomatoes. Close the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices, and serve.