a meal for champions: thai chicken panini

Last Thursday, with the big NBA Finals game 7 on the line (shhh… don’t tell our neighbors or anyone in Sacramento that we’re Lakers fans) and guests coming over, I decided that we needed an easy to make meal that was also a crowd pleaser. Going off of an idea provided by a local restaurant, I decided to make my own version of a Thai chicken panini… which garnered some “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from the peanut gallery in-between shouts of, “Pass the ball KOBE!” and “What?!? That was not a foul!”
Ingredients: roasted red peppers (homemade/in a jar), peanut sauce (homemade/in a jar), ciabatta loaf/rolls, boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cilantro.
There are two ways you can go about making this meal: (1) prep the day ahead and (2) use the prepared stuff!
(1) Prep the day ahead
The day (or 2/3) before you’d like to indulge in this meal, you’ll need to roast your red pepper and make your peanut sauce.
Roasting a red bell pepper is extremely easy:  Set your oven to 450 degrees, put your pepper on its side and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the pepper over and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the pepper from the over, place it in a bowl and cover it up. In 30-60 minutes, or when cool to touch, remove the pepper and place it on a cutting board. Pull out the stem along with all of the seeds. Now, cut into thin strips, place in a small bowl, cover them with extra virgin olive oil and then plastic wrap, and store in the fridge!
Peanut Sauce: I make my peanut sauce based on what ingredients I have around the house. If you have fish sauce and coconut milk, this is a great recipe. If you just have peanut butter and soy sauce, then I’d stick with this one.

(2) Use prepared stuff!
Just buy roasted red peppers and Thai peanut sauce at the grocery store… and you’re good to go!
1. Grill chicken breasts. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before cutting them into strips/chunks.
2. Slice open ciabatta bread and coat the insides of the bread with peanut sauce.
3. Layer grilled chicken on the inside of the bottom piece of ciabatta. Layer roasted red peppers on top. Sprinkle on cilantro. Top with remaining half of the ciabatta.
4. Place in a panini press for 90 seconds and enjoy!
See… easy to make, easy to eat, and provides enough protein to scream at your rivals, yell at the refs, laugh at Ron Artest and cry with Derek Fisher.

One Comment

  • Mina

    sounds yummy! and thanks for your method on roasting the bell pepper. i had heard of it before but hadn’t tried it, and when i tried doing it over the open stovetop flame, it was kind of a pain. this sounds much easier.