Last month, Popeyes and Chick-fil-A were duking it out over who makes the best chicken sandwich. Other fast-food giants took notice while Twitter went crazy, food writers tried to keep up, and just about every restaurant that ever slapped a piece of chicken between two halves of a bun tried their own versions. Popeyes’s newest menu addition is based on a breaded and fried chicken cutlet set on a brioche bun with pickle slices and regular or spicy mayonnaise. It turns out to be fairly simple to make at home. Instead of breading and frying the chicken, brine the breasts before seasoning them with paprika, dry mustard, black pepper, and cayenne. Then, saute them quickly in a skillet. Fewer calories, just as good. Layer a brioche bun with Sriracha-mayo, pickles, shredded lettuce, and the breast. This sandwich might not have quite the same cache as your favorite fast-food joint, but when the local franchise slaps a note on the door apologizing for its inability to keep up with demand, you’ll know what to do.
|1||clove garlic, crushed|
|4||skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1½ pounds total)|
|1||teaspoon dry mustard|
|1||teaspoon ground black pepper|
|1||pinch cayenne pepper|
|2||tablespoons chili-garlic sauce such as Sriracha|
|1||tablespoon white miso|
|1||tablespoon canola oil|
|4||brioche buns, halved|
|1½||cups shredded iceberg lettuce|
1. In a large bowl, combine water, salt, and garlic. Stir well to dissolve the salt. Add the chicken breasts, and make sure they are fully submerged. Refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. In a bowl, stir together the paprika, mustard, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
3. In another bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, chili-garlic sauce, and miso; refrigerate.
4. Remove the chicken breasts from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with spice mixture.
5. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the chicken and cook 5 minutes on a side, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees.
6. In another skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Place 4 bottom halves of brioche, cut sides down, in the skillet. Toast for 1 to 2 minutes or until well browned and warmed through. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the brioche tops.
7. Spoon the spicy mayonnaise onto the 4 bottom buns. Add 3 pickle chips to each and a sprinkling of shredded lettuce. Top each with 1 chicken breast. Close the sandwiches with the top buns.
Karoline Boehm Goodnick