Saturday Sandwich: The Santa Barbara

July  5, 2013
4 Ratings
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

Here lies an attempt to recreate one of the most perfect wrapped sandwiches I've ever encountered. For the full story, read here: —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • 2 chicken tenders*
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/8 head of red cabbage, sliced ultra-thin (a mandoline is perfect here, though a good sharp knife will do nearly as well)
  • 2 or 3 scallions thinly sliced
  • Handful of cilantro (leaves and stems), chopped
  • 1 cup unflavored Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemongrass paste **
  • Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large spinach-flavored tortilla
  • 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Thinly sliced curls of red onion
  1. * I buy IQF (individually quick-frozen chicken tenderloins and stash them in my freezer. Because they are IQF, I can pull out as many or as few as I choose. ** Lemongrass paste may be one of the great inventions of the 21st century for those of us who live in lemongrass-challenged portions of the U.S., or of the world for that matter. Look for it in the produce section of your grocery store.
  2. If, like mine, your tenders are frozen, take out 2 per person and seal them in a ziplock bag. The safest, and interestingly also the quickest, way to thaw them is in cold water. Cold water behaves with frozen foods exactly the way it does toward the human body in cold water. It conducts both heat and cold extremely well, so it wicks cold away from frozen foods allowing them to thaw faster than they would at room temperature alone. So set your zip lock bag in a large bowl of cold water. Turn them over every 10 minutes or so. Within about 30 minutes, they’ll be thawed and ready for their quick marinade. First, though, lay a couple of thicknesses of paper towel on a plate. Spread the tenders out on it, and press a couple of paper towels down on top of them as well. Just before they are IQFd, they are sprayed with a thin sheen of water which freezes almost instantly and helps maintain a barrier between all the tenders once bagged. That is the water you are blotting away.
  3. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
  4. Light a medium-sized charcoal fire or a propane grill. Pour the corn oil onto the same plate on which you dried the tenders and turn them over in it, coating both sides. Salt and pepper them, then squeeze the lime juice over them. Allow to sit at room temperature while the fire burns down/heats up. If you're smart, you'll pull more than two or four tenders from the freezer because, while you’ll only use two or so per sandwich, deeply flavored chicken is such a treasure to have in the freezer,. So as long as you’re building a fire, you may as well make good use of it. Besides, I would hardly expect you to build a fire just to grill one or two pieces of chicken.
  5. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set it aside so they can blend. Before mixing with the cabbage, taste it and adjust any seasonings as necessary.
  6. Thinly shred the cabbage – this is an excellent job for a mandoline. Slice the scallion greens 1/4? thick, and chop a generous handful of cilantro. Toss them all together in a mixing bowl.
  7. When the fire is ready, spread the coals out into a single layer. Lay the chicken tenders on the grill. If you try to cook the chicken all the way through on the grill, you run the risk that it will be dry and tough. So basically get some good grill-marks and smoky flavor to both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side with the lid open, then remove them to a clean plate and set them in the oven to finish cooking gently. Mine were at 145 degrees when they went into the oven; within 10 minutes (I set a timer to check them at 5-minute intervals), they read 165 degrees at the center. Remove them from the oven and let sit at room temperature to cool and rest for about 5 minutes. Turn off the oven.
  8. Set the tortilla shell in the oven so that the residual heat can firm it up a bit. If you try to make this or any wrap sandwich with a cold tortilla, chances are very good that it will tear. Let it warm while you prepare the filling.
  9. Thinly slice two or three of the chicken tenders and add them to the bowl containing the cabbage mixture. Add 4 ounces of the dressing, and use tongs to toss all the ingredients together. Thinly slice 1/4 of an avocado, as well as some curls of red onion, as many as you wish, and set them both aside.
  10. Remove the tortilla from the oven. Distribute about a scant cup of the filling along its center. Don’t be greedy; resist the urge to over-fill. Remember, you can always make another. The juice of a blushing, perfect peach may be exquisite as it runs down your chin and arms, but a sandwich doesn’t carry quite the same charm. Place the avocado and onion slice along the length of the filling.
  11. To roll it up, first fold in the ends. Next, fold the near edge away from you over the filling, and gently pressing in on the ends with the heels of your hands and gripping the middle of the tortilla and filling, roll it all to the opposite side. Press gently to set the filling within the tortilla, and let it sit for a couple of minutes to settle itself.
  12. Then slice it in half on the diagonal across the middle. Transfer to a plate.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

1 Review

JanetFL July 11, 2013
This sounds fabulous!