Earlier today, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across a funny comment that my dear friend, Cindy, had posted. It read, “Here ye Here ye Casa Sanders is no longer taking reservations until September 2016!!!! Peace Out!” I laugh every time I read it because I know all too well where she’s coming from. You see, last year, Cindy and her family moved from the piney woods of Mandeville (a New Orleans suburb) to the Windy City. Since this is their first full summer in Chicago, their home has been nothing short of a happy hotel for visiting friends and family. Our first few years in Atlanta were the same. We hosted company every month or two. And while we truly enjoyed entertaining everyone and showing off our new town, it was exhausting. So I’m glad Cindy has come to terms with the fact that she needs some down time and has taken the liberty of letting everyone know.
And that, curiously enough, brings me to today’s post. How, you might ask? Well, when I first read Cindy’s comment, my food-centric brain immediately turned to Blackened Tuna. Back in the day, that was my go-to dish for out-of-town guests because it was simple and quick, tasty and dramatic. But I’ve already shared a version of that recipe with you all. Then I remembered another little blackened number that hadn’t yet made its Raised on a Roux debut–Blackened Chicken Sliders. These sliders may not be as simple or as quick as the tuna, but they’re just as tasty and dramatic.
Blackened Chicken Sliders with Bacon and Avocado-Basil Cream
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Blackened Seasoning Mix
1 12-ounce package sweet dinner rolls (I use King’s Hawaiian)
12 slices Monterey Jack cheese
12 slices bacon, sliced in half crosswise and cooked crisp
Avocado-Basil Cream, recipe follows
Preheat broiler. Place chicken between two sheets of waxed paper and pound to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut each breast into four equal portions; set aside. Since the blackening process creates a lot of smoke, turn vent hood on high and open a kitchen window or two. Place a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat until smoking hot. Pour butter into a wide, shallow dish. Place blackened seasoning in a separate dish. Working in batches of four, dip chicken in butter then dredge in seasoning. Carefully place in hot skillet and cook, uncovered, until bottom appears charred, 2-3 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until done, about 3 minutes more. To assemble, slice rolls in half (an electric knife works best on these soft rolls) and lay open on a large baking sheet. Place one piece of chicken on bottom half of roll. Top with 2 pieces of bacon and one slice of cheese. Broil until cheese melts, 1-2 minutes. Remove from broiler, garnish with a dollop of Avocado-Basil Cream, cover with tops of buns and serve. Makes 12 sliders.
1 ripe Hass avocado, halved and pitted
15 large fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Scoop flesh of avocado into a blender or food processor. Add basil, garlic, sour cream and lemon juice; process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.