A Canada Day sandwich to crow about
Federal public safety minister Vic Toews wins bragging rights for having his chicken sandwich recipe selected by the Chicken Farmers of Canada to serve Canada Day revellers this year at Major’s Hill Park.
Toews was among 72 members of parliament who entered the contest for best chicken sandwich, sponsored by the farmers’ association, Maple Leaf Foods and The Hill Times. First prize of $10,000 will be donated to a food bank in his riding of Provencher, in southeast Manitoba.
Second place winning a $5,000 donation is MP Olivia Chow of Trinity-Spadina riding, while MP Sylvain Chicoine of Châteauguay-Saint-Constant placed third winning a $2,500 donation.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 Canada Day sandwiches are sold each year at $4 each, of which 50 cents is donated to the Ottawa Food Bank. Sandwiches are prepared by chef Fouad El-Jadayel of the Centurion Conference Centre, who will also conduct cooking demonstrations on Canada Day at the Chicken Centre in the park.
Chicken Farmers of Canada represents 2,700 producers. Each year the organizations looks for a tasty poultry treat that can be easily prepared and will appeal to a broad audience. Although the winning recipe calls for chopped jalapeño pepper, El-Jadayel says he’ll omit it on Canada Day because many people don’t like spicy food.
“I looked at practicality to serve 10,000 people when selecting the final recipes for consideration,” says El-Jadayel, who whittled down entries to about 10 finalists. “It has to be delicious, but also easy to make.
“I looked for flavours we haven’t done in the last 10 years. Not only is this one tasty but the pesto we use is completely nut-free, made with only basil, olive oil, gartlic and parmesan cheese.
“I think people will be very happy with it.”
Vic Toews Pesto Chicken Philly Melt
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
Splash, balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
1 sprig, fresh oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
Montreal Steak Spice mixture
1/4 green pepper, sliced
1/4 red pepper, sliced
1/4 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons (25 mL) fresh pesto
1 tablespoon (15 mL) mayonnaise
1 tablespoon (15 mL) chopped jalapeño pepper (optional)
1 large ciabatta bun
3 slices cheddar cheese
3 slices tomato
Freshly cracked black pepper
Marinate chicken overnight with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, oregano, minced garlic, covered and refrigerated.
To grill, remove from marinade (discard marinade). Sprinkle breast with Montreal Steak Spice, and grill over high heat to ensure crisp but not blackened coating.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan with a little vegetable oil on medium heat, sauté green and red sliced peppers, and onion; set aside.
In a bowl, mix together pesto, mayonnaise and jalapeño (if using), then spread on both halves of the bun. Slice cooked chicken to desired thickness.
Place sautéed vegetables on one half of the bun, followed by sliced chicken. Place 2 slices of cheddar on chicken, and remaining cheese on the top portion of the bun, placing both halves open-face up on the top bun rack of the barbecue just long enough to melt the cheese.
To serve, top with shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, garnished with a light sprinkle of balsamic vinegar and freshly cracked pepper.