Miso Chicken Sandwich with Ginger Mayo

It's been some time since I've had the time and energy along with the urge to do some creative, experimental cooking. I wonder if foodies that don't cook know what kind of planning it takes to find or write a recipe and then execute it, let alone take pictures and then write about it. It requires some effort!

Tonight's meal was a neat little discovery for me because I learned about miso. I've seen the word before on recipes and other blogs but always passed it up as some weird Asian thing that I probably wouldn't like anyway. Seeing as how I'm a little more flexible in my food budget now, I think I'm going to start taking more chances on some new flavors.

I did sort of cheap out, no, I was frugal about my ingredients on this one. I first went to Kroger in search of miso paste, but all they had was a large jar for $6.99 - too expensive for something I have no idea about and too much of the ingredient.

Next I went to Fresh Market - no dice. They had soup but no paste...

So I went to Earthfare - they carry all sorts of funky stuff like this. I had to ask somebody and found paste in produce in the refrigerated section. $5.99 for a small cottage cheese type carton, organic as well. Do I need to take it this far?

I settled with getting a soup packet from the Earthfare for about $3. It contained a pouch of miso paste that was perfect for what I needed.

The chicken sauce is made from miso paste, dark sesame oil, soy sauce, and grated fresh ginger. I was skeptical after tasting this. It was soo salty. My hope at this point was that the saltiness would dilute during the baking process or perhaps the saltiness went well with other ingredients in the recipe. I even did a little research and found the general opinion of miso is that it is very salty, so this must be correct.

You can pound 4 half-chicken breasts very thin, or do what I did and slice 2 half-chicken breasts in half to make 4 thin patties. Brush both sides of the chicken with the sauce.

Broil for about 2 minutes and flip.

Broil 2 more minutes. I thought this was so cool. Usually I bake chicken for 25 or so minutes. This was a 4 minute deal and cooked though. The chicken came out tender and juicy as well.

The mayo is made from mayonnaise, of course, rice vinegar (not to be confused with rice wine vinegar), soy sauce, grated ginger, Asian chili sauce, and dark sesame oil. This mayo has a very nice nutty flavor along with a tangy zing that finishes with a peppery bite from the ginger.

To assemble your sandwiches, spread some of the mayo on the bread, place your chicken...

Top with thinly sliced avocado. I was supposed to put some cucumbers on here too, but I completely forgot. (hey gimme a break I was trying to get the family dished up for supper, take pics, and had 2 batches of chocolate anise biscotti in the oven) :P. I did steam some sprouts though and topped the sandwich, a nice substitute for lettuce.

I was really impressed with the flavors of this recipe coming together. Perhaps I can use the word umami and sound like I know what I'm talking about. This sandwich was full of umami. I think the best way I could describe this is close to a teryaki flavor, but it was better than that - there was more of a roundness, a broader spectrum or completeness to the chicken, especially combined with the sesame, the soy and the ginger. I look forward to leftovers!

I got this recipe from the Food Network Kitchens Cookbook.
For the Chicken Sauce:
1/4 C light miso
1/4 C dark sesame oil
1 T finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves pounded very thin

Preheat broiler and line broiler pan with foil. Combine miso, sesame oil and ginger. Brush sauce onto chicken and place chicken onto prepared pan. Broil chicken about 2 minutes per side, flipping once until cooked through.

 For the Mayonaisse
1/2 C mayonnaise
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp Asian chili saice or hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil

Whisk to combine all ingredients

8 slices multigrain sandwich bread (or bread of choice)
1 avocado, halved seeded, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber thinly sliced
1 C sprouts (steamed if you're worried about e coli or salmonella)

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