Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Cilantro-Lime Mayo

So, it’s been a busy few weeks for me.  I’ve been cleaning, organizing, and rearranging things around my house.    There’s something about having three bedrooms when you’re one person and a friend who would gladly absorb a share of the rent and utilities in exchange for one of those rooms. There’s also something about your boyfriend asking for your opinion on kitchen tile that makes you realize that someday, you might be moving out of your three bedroom apartment, and that you’d rather not fill twenty U-Hauls with junk you don’t need later on, when the time comes. Among the things I needed to sort through were magazines I’d held onto.  I decided the best thing to do was go through them, use a three-hole punch, and put the recipes I wanted to keep in a three-ring binder.  So, my meal planning for the next few weeks involves those torn-out recipes, so that eventually, I can get rid of the binder as well. Or fill it with more recipes . . . .

I made this chicken sandwich because the idea of breading chicken and frying it struck me as interesting coming from a Cooking Light magazine.  The nutrition information doesn’t (or shouldn’t) lie, and even though this chicken gets breaded and pan-fried, then coated in a cilantro mayonnaise, it has 13 grams of fat.  That may seem like a lot, but a crispy chicken sandwich at Mc Donald’s has 29.  Aside from being much better for you, these chicken sandwiches were so much tastier than fast food, and very easy to make.  I used whole wheat ciabatta rolls instead of the kaiser rolls the original recipe recommends, and it was fantastic.  The chicken could be eaten on its own as an entrée, or cut up and put on top of a salad.  I didn’t find the chicken to be very spicy at all, so if you’d like it spicy, I suggest adding some chipotle or chili powder to the crushed tortillas before breading the chicken.  Even though the page I tore out of the magazine will be tossed eventually, this recipe is one that’s sure to be in my rotation from now on.

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Cilantro-Lime Mayo

Ingredients: 

for the mayo:

  • 1/4 C. reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

for the chicken:

  • 1/4 C. egg whites
  • 3 Tbs. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2  (6 oz. each) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 1/2 oz. (about 6 cups) baked tortilla chips
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

to assemble:

  • 4 (2 oz.) rolls (Kaiser or ciabatta recommended), split
  • 12 (1/8 inch thick) red onion slices
  • iceberg lettuce leaves

Directions:

To prepare the mayo, combine the mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic clove in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the chicken, combine the egg white, hot sauce, oregano, and salt in a large zip-top plastic bag.

Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 cutlets.

Place the chicken cutlets into the bag and seal.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Put the tortilla chips in a food processor and process for 1 minute until ground.

Put the ground chips in a shallow dish.

Working one piece of chicken at a time, remove the chicken from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drip off.

Coat the chicken with the chips and set aside.

Repeat until all 4 pieces of chicken are coated.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Add olive oil to the pan, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until browned and chicken is cooked through.

To assemble sandwiches, spread mayonnaise mixture on cut sides of each roll.

Put 3 onion slices, lettuce and 1 chicken cutlet on the bottom half of each roll, and top each with the top half of the roll.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: adapted slightly from Cooking Light, December 2008

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