Dressing up your cream cheese for dinner debut
By J.M. HIRSCH
AP Food Editor
If you're going to smear some cream cheese on anything other than a bagel, it's nice to dress it up.
In this easy recipe for open-face chicken sandwich, cream cheese is blended with soft goat cheese, roasted red peppers, garlic, lemon juice and a splash of hot sauce to create a terrific spread that is a fine complement to the butter-fried chicken.
The same spread — which can be made ahead and refrigerated — also would do well topped with smoked salmon, or used in place of mayonnaise and other condiments on a burger.
Or to really mix things up, cut your chicken breasts into chunks and cook as directed in the recipe. Just when the chicken is cooked, add about 1/4 cup of water or broth and about half of the pepper-cheese mixture. Stir to blend and cook until the cheese melts and forms a thick sauce. Serve over the toasted bread or over pasta.
OPEN-FACE CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER AND CHEESE SPREAD
Start to finish: 25 minutes
• 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
• 8-ounce log goat cheese
• 4 ounces cream cheese
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon hot sauce
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 4 large, thick slices sourdough or other rustic bread
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 4 Peppadew peppers or jarred banana pepper slices, diced
Heat the oven to 400 F.
In a food processor, combine the red peppers, goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic, lemon juice, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Process until smooth, scraping the side of the bowl as needed. The mixture should be thick and spreadable. Set aside.
Arrange the bread on a baking sheet, then drizzle the slices with the olive oil. Toast on the oven's top rack for about 5 minutes, or until just crisp.
Meanwhile, carefully slice each chicken breast horizontally to form 2 thin cutlets.
In a wide, shallow bowl, mix together the flour, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Dredge each cutlet through the flour mixture, lightly coating both sides.
In a large skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the cutlets and cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes, or until cooked through.
To serve, spread a thick smear of the red pepper and cheese mixture over each slice of bread. Top each with a chicken cutlet, then sprinkle with diced peppers.
Alternatively, you also can prepare this dish as an appetizer by cutting both the bread and chicken into smaller pieces and assembling as directed.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 759 calories; 337 calories from fat; 38g fat (20 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 107 mg cholesterol; 66 g carbohydrate; 40 g protein; 3 g fiber; 1,408 mg sodium.