Chicken Spiedie...and Italian Spiedini. I don't exactly remember how I came upon this recipe for spiedies. Though I am quite sure I was looking for something else and stumbled upon them in the process. In any case, it was the ingredients in the recipe that perked up my interest to try the sandwich....and probably the name.
The spiedie(spee-dee) sandwich originated from Italy and was introduced to upstate New York by Italian immigrants in the early 1920's. The sandwich caught on with a variety of workers who were looking for a quick bite. Known for its lemony-garlic marinade, the spiedie was a simple sandwich...yet full of flavor. The meat was marinated for hours, skewered, and then grilled on hot coals. The meat was turned often on the grill to ensure even cooking. Finally, the meat( skewer and all) was placed on some soft Italian Bread. The bread roll was used as a glove to simply slide off the chicken pieces from the skewer. Sometimes extra sauce was drizzled over the chicken pieces to add even more flavor.
Though the original spiedie was made with lamb meat, it is now made with all sorts of meat....chicken being a popular choice. You probably won't find spiedies outside of New York....and that's probably one of the reasons why I'd never heard of them before. However, many Italian restaurants do make spiedini...which essentially is just an Italian word for skewered meat or fish that's grilled. So if you want to go for a gluten-free/no carb option, you might want to try the spiedini version with a side of grilled vegetables....it's just as delicious.
As I said before, it was the flavorful ingredients that caught my attention....and the fact that the recipe came from America's Test Kitchen was a plus. I love most of their recipes, and I was quite eager to try it. Not to mention that I am always on the lookout for chicken recipes. I love to vary the chicken meals we have, and this sounded so delicious to me.
The recipe was rather simple to prepare. Unlike the original recipe that marinates the meat overnight or more, ATK's version is much simpler. While ATK removed the lemon juice from the marinade, I chose to use it in mine. The reason ATK removed it from the marinade is that the lemon juice which has the tendancy to "cook" the chicken. But I ended up marinating my chicken for 2 hours, and found it just right...didn't have any problems with the chicken. I recommend marinating the meat for 30 minutes... to no more than 3 hours. For most recipes, I prefer an overnight marination. If I would take the overnight route, I would simply add the lemon juice an hour or so before grilling the chicken. Feel free to omit the lemon juice from the marinade and add it to the spiedie sauce instead.
I had all the ingredients at home except for fresh basil, which I substituted with dried. As much as I hardly ever buy bread, I purposely went out to buy some Italian rolls...just to make the experience as authentic as possible:). We loved, loved these sandwiches...they had a ton of flavor and were just delicious! The sauce is what really brings it all together, and I would highly recommend using it....you might even need to double it:).
I ended up making my own homemade olive oil mayo( using a poached egg)... but you can use store-bought. As for the grilling, I ended up doing 2 trials...one using a grill pan, and the other using the outside grill. They both worked out great. I prefer cooking the meat in the grill pan when using using wooden skewers. This way I don't need to soak the skewers... and the spiedies look presentable without having to worry about burned skewers. But if I am grilling vegetables, I much prefer the outside grill and will then use metal skewers. Incidently, you can probably make these under the broiler as well. Since I was quite excited to take photos of the sandwiches and start eating, I simply forgot to grill the inside of the bread. It would be nice to add a bit of texture to the sandwich...oh well, maybe next time:). Hope you enjoy...
Note: If you would like to make your own mayo, you can click here for the recipe....Homemade Mayonnaise.~this time around, I ended up using extra light olive oil and a poached egg to make the mayo along with a bit of lemon juice and mustard.
- The marinade can easily be used on a variety of meat or seafood...even vegetables.
- Adding some mint for lamb would be wonderful.
- I like to remove the marinated chicken from the fridge about a half hour or so before I grill.... it takes off the chill and sears the chicken much better.
- If you want to control the amount of salt, simply sprinkle the amount of salt you want to use directly on the chicken, and then add the unsalted marinade.
You will need: adapted from HERE and originally from ATK 2010 Cookbook
1/2 cup olive oil( you can probably use a tiny bit less)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsps dried basil( you can also use 2 TBS fresh)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
grated zest of a small lemon
1 TBS lemon juice, or to taste**
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes*
*You can use less, especially if you are making it for children. Use more if you like it spicier...
** While the original recipe has the lemon juice mixed in the spiedie sauce, I chose to use it in the marinade...you can likewise omit it from the marinade and add it to the spiedie sauce if you like.
3-4 TBS mayonnaise
1 TBS red wine vinegar
2 TBS of reserved marinade( from above)
1.5 lbs (or 4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
sub rolls, slit and toasted on the inside
Make the Marinade:
In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon juice( or omit if using it in the spiedie sauce instead), lemon zest, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Whisk to fully combine. Transfer 2 tablespoons oil mixture to separate smaller bowl.
Marinate the Chicken:
Prick chicken breasts all over with fork, cut into 1 and 1/2 inch chunks, and transfer to bowl with remaining oil marinade mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes... or up to 3 hours.
To the 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade, add the mayonnaise and vinegar( and 1 TBS lemon juice if not using it in the meat marinade). Whisk until fully combined and refrigerate until ready to use.
Grill the Chicken: Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto wooden or metal skewers.
Grill chicken over a hot fire or in a grill pan. Grill on one side, turning every so often until lightly charred and cooked through...this should take about 10- 15 minutes. Try not to overcook the chicken. You can grill the sub rolls for a a minute or so... just to toast the inside and get a few grill marks. Transfer chicken to sub rolls, remove skewers, and drizzle with mayonnaise mixture.
Or you can simply do a spiedini by serving the skewered chicken pieces with a side of grilled vegetables.