Cast Iron Pans Cast iron pan owners swear by them for their even dispersal of heat and non stick nature. However, iron is not as happy go lucky as other metals. Initially, the pan must be seasoned with vegetable oil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. Each time you heat the pan with oil, it will season till it obtains a beautiful dark color. Don't wash off the black patina thinking it is dirty. In fact, never use soap or scour the pan or you will remove the essence of the pan. Dry your iron pan on the stove with medium heat but watch it so it doesn't burn.
One day I was hungry for lunch and had some leftover chicken breasts. Next thing I saw in the fridge was calamata olives. So I thought, why not make a chicken salad sandwich with Greek flavors?!? I pulled out pepperoncinis next. My wife loves them so we always have a couple bottles on hand. I also found some feta cheese I hadn't completely used on another recipe. A little mayonnaise, some diced red onion and a pinch of oregano and I had myself a surprise winner.
Chicken breasts are hard to cook evenly due to their irregular size. They are a little rounded and thicker at the large end. Pounding the breast out just a little with a Meat Mallet really helps get a juicy chicken breast with no surprise pink in the middle. The picture above shows the before and after results of some light pounding. The breast is now even across the top so the center gets cooked sooner. Thirty seconds of work for a juicier chicken breast seems like a good trade off.
Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder while an Iron Grill Pan is heating up on medium high. Grill the meat for approximately five minutes per side, rotating halfway through on each side to get cross hatch grill marks. The chicken is done when it is firm to the touch. When I think it is done, I like to turn off the heat and let the meat cook a little longer with residual heat from the pan.
Let the meat cool for ten minutes on a cutting board before dicing it. The size of your chicken chunks depends on your personality. I like large chunks usually so I get a great taste of meat in every bite. Small chunks might be your calling if you like each piece of meat to be surrounded by mayo and other bits of goodness.
Dice the olives, onion and pepperoncinis and mix all the ingredients together with just enough mayonnaise to cover the chicken lightly. Rather than smother the mixture with tons of mayonnaise, I prefer to spread some on each side of the bread if I am serving a mayo lover. But to each his own. Feel free to add as much a mayonnaise as you so desire :)
Serve your Greek chicken salad on any bread you like, even a bagel. Add some salty chips and something sour like a pickle or pepperoncini and you have a tasty lunch that didn't take long to prepare!