Before my dinner party last weekend, I tested out a few potential recipes. I felt that Wolfgang Puck’s chicken aioli sandwich had a lot of potential as an appetizer (if cut into small bites) for the party. The recipe turned out somewhat time-consuming, from marinating the chicken to chopping the vegetables and spices.
I was ecstatic, however, with the result. The garlic aioli stood out as the star of the sandwich for me—possibly because I applied a generous amount of the spread on the sandwich. The bite of the garlic in the aioli and the ginger-infused chicken worked wonderfully together. Toasting the ciabatta bread provided the perfect amount of crunch and served as an extra element to the sandwich, in addition to the onion, tomato and lettuce.
What I found most difficult about this recipe was making the aioli. I admit, my first attempt was an utter failure—rather than a mayonnaise texture, my aioli was a bowl full of green oil. I made the mistake of blending the ingredients for the aioli in a large food processor, which was too big of a space to properly blend the mixture.
I complained to my mom about the oil soup I created and as always, she came to my rescue. Instead of using a food processor, I used a small metal bowl and hand mixer for my second try. Before adding the oil to the garlic and egg yolk mixture, I whisked at high-speed (speed 7 or so) until the mixture was thoroughly combined and somewhat fluffy. Next, I began to SLOWLY pour in the oil, while still mixing at high-speed.
After about 5 minutes of mixing, with the oil incorporated, a beautiful creamy aioli stared up at me from within the bowl. I was so pleased that my second attempt was successful—all thanks to my mom. I can now say I know how to make homemade mayonnaise!
The only reason I decided against this sandwich for the party was because of the strong garlic taste from the aioli, which clings to the tongue for an entire night. I figured people wouldn’t want to worry about having garlic breath while socializing with other guests. Otherwise, I highly recommend this sandwich, as it offers a delicious marriage of flavors.
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 chopped green onions, or chives
1 tsp. chile flakes
1/2 cup peanut oil
4 chicken breasts
Focaccia or ciabatta bread
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
Aioli, recipe below
Combine ginger, garlic, green onions, chile flakes and peanut oil. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove chicken from marinade and place in small roasting pan or on baking sheet. I used a baking sheet and suggest placing a piece of foil on the sheet. Roast the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Cut the chicken crosswise into thin slices.
Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Slice bread or rolls horizontally and place on baking sheet with both halves cut-side facing up. Place desired amount of provolone cheese on bottom half of bread. Cook until cheese is melted and bread is slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove bread from oven.
Place 1/4 of chicken on top of melted cheese. Top with romaine lettuce, tomato and red onion. Spread desired amount of aioli on top half of bread and place on top of sandwich.
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 egg yolks
Freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 cups safflower, or sunflower, oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
In a food processor or with handheld mixer, combine garlic, basil, egg yolks, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard and process/mix to combine. With the machine/mixer running, add the oil in a SLOW, steady stream until it is all added and the mixture is emulsified. Add lemon juice and check seasoning.