Honey Buffalo Chicken Panini

This is one of those dishes where I was hanging at home trying to think of what to do with the package of chicken I had sitting around in the fridge, and didn’t really feel like doing something that I usually do with chicken, which is grilling, pan searing, etc. served with some boring old sides blah blah blah.

I had recently been to a local hot spot in Nashville and my fiance ordered a very similar sandwich for dinner that night while we were catching up and hanging with some friends listening to local musicians do a writer’s night (a must do if you live in this city) and  I figured it was gonna be like any other buffalo chicken sandwich you get from a restaurant… (boring!) but I was wrong, it was quite delicious… and I knew I would eventually have to do it up my own way at home and have my fiance test it out (hence… the test kitchen)

So what I did was slice a chicken breast in half (so its thinner), tossed it into a dish with a mix of buttermilk and hot sauce, and let it soak for a few hours.  Once the chicken was soaked in buttermilk for a while, I got out a deep pan with some oil (like homemade fryer station), mixed up some flour and seasonings to dredge it in, did up an egg wash, and did the usual fry coating to the chicken.  Then I dropped it (carefully) into the hot oil to deep fry and let it get all crispy and delicious.  When I took it out I laid it on a plate with paper towels to soak up the extra grease.  While that was resting for a minute I put together the sauce (super simple) in a bowl which is just honey and Frank’s Red Hot sauce (I had about 1/3 honey to 2/3 hot sauce for mine to keep it a little more on the spicy side rather than too sweet).  Then tossed the chicken around in the sauce to get it nice and coated.

Then I grabbed up a Focaccia style roll from a supermarket bakery that I had been using for other sandwiches, laid on some slices of cheese (you can pretty much put whatever kind you want) on both bottom and top slice of the roll, added the chicken and some fresh Arugula, and assembled it.  Then sprayed my Panini press with nonstick oil and put the sandwich on to get nice and toasty, and let the cheese get all melty.  Once its done I just sliced it in half and served it with either Ranch or Bleu Cheese dressing (so good!).

I am happy to say that it was well received by my fiance, and may have heard a “this is better than what we had at the restaurant” comment thrown my way as well (Test Kitchen Approved!)

So if you want to try something a little different than the standard buffalo chicken sandwich you always get at a restaurant, try this one out from the comfort of your own home.  It’s easy, and you can adjust it any way you’d like to fit your taste.  And I would bet your significant other would be impressed (and probably love you even more) for making this.  Give it a shot!

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