The other night, when I made these potatoes, Eric was still out of town. And I thought…to myself…there’s no one else here but Owen, Liz. You legitimately could eat potatoes and only potatoes for dinner.
But then I thought better of myself and knew if I did that, I would be lying in bed later, feeling like a bloated potato, only I would have nobody to complain to.So, I did the only sensible thing and decided to whip up some quick chicken gyros while the potatoes were roasting.
Using the same homemade Greek salad dressing that I dipped the potatoes in (and subsequently bathed in), I marinated the chicken for a half hour before sauteing it.
I dutifully cut up my onions, crumbled my feta, and got out some pitas. And then, I proceeded to destroy not one, but four pita pockets in my attempt to make them…well, pockets.
Does anyone else have this problem? I mean seriously…every single time, I cut them in half, and then ever-so-carefully tried to pry them open, but no. Every last one of them ripped. And not only are ripped pitas impossible to eat, but they make for some pretty poor food photography, especially next to those sexy roasted potatoes.
I looked at Owen, happily chewing on all of my tupperware lids on the kitchen floor. I looked out at the car. I thought briefly about leaving to get more pitas but then looked at the trail of ice-death that we call a sidewalk leading out to the car….and I decided I’d have to make do.
And that is the story of how gyros became paninis. Really, really good paninis. Paninis so good that they prompted me to call Eric, minutes before he boarded his plane, to tell him that I’d just made something amazing.
I brushed olive oil on the outsides of my tattered pita halves. I sprinkled one half with feta, onion slices, the marinated and sauteed chicken, and just a few pieces of cheater-March spinach; then I drizzled just a little of that same, amazing Greek salad dressing over the top, and I panini-ed it in my panini maker.
This may be my new favorite panini. Sure….it was crumbly and a little hard to eat, but the combination of flavors was just right. Plus, throw in the smell of a toasted pita, and you may never have a normal gyro, with their ripped pockets, ever again.
(panini recipe by Carpé Season) (Greek salad dressing from Simply Scratch )
(yields 1 panini, easily multiplied)
This Greek chicken panini is fast, easy, and really flavorful! The amounts given in the recipe are just suggestions; use your judgment as you assemble your panini and make it yours!
Greek Salad Dressing / Marinade:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
4-5 turns of Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. olive oil (plus 2 tsp. for cooking)
2 oz. (1/3 c.) feta (chunk is best; crumbled works too)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp. onion, thinly sliced
1 small handful spinach, torn
1 tbsp. Greek salad dressing
*If in season, diced bell peppers and tomatoes would be great on this panini!
Greek Salad Dressing / Marinade:
Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a small jar. Seal tightly with a lid and shake until thoroughly combined. (Leftover dressing can be kept for several days, covered, in the fridge; remove 10 mins. before use so the oil can un-solidify)
Marinate you chicken by placing your chicken pieces in a small bowl and pouring app. 3 tbsp. of the Greek salad dressing over it. Stir chicken until each piece is coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins, though longer is definitely okay.
Pour 2 tsp. of olive oil into a sauté pan, and saute´ marinated chicken, turning frequently, until outside is slightly browned and inside is no longer pink. Drain chicken; finely chop, and set aside.
To assemble the pita:
Brush olive oil on one side of the pita. Cut pita in half. Place one half, oiled side down, on a plate. On the pita, place your feta (sliced if from a chunk), onion slices, chopped chicken, and spinach (plus tomatoes & peppers if using). Place the other half of the pita, oiled side up, on top.
Heat your panini maker; grill panini until golden-brown with those fantastic grill lines!
Cut panini into wedges, and serve immediately with extra Greek salad dressing for dipping
(If you don't have a panini maker, you could make this as you would grilled cheese, but it will be kind of tricky to flip. I've used 2 spatulas to turn this and then just tucked fallen panini innderds back inside the pitas after the flip. Good luck!)