Sometimes just winging it with what ingredients that are on hand in an inventive way pays off!
As a sous chef (second chef) I was always trying to make something out of slow selling food items or items the chef may have ordered too much of. Never sell food that is going bad. That is taboo. Sell food that has not sold well, as a different or new recipe before it spoils is definitely a better idea! As a sous chef, it helps if you have an extensive knowledge of recipes.
The opposite end of the deal, is for a sous chef is to figure out what to do with items that there is not enough of a quantity to sell as a main course special du jour. When there are four fresh uncooked filets of snapper leftover from the previous busy night, what do you do with them, if you expect a lunch crowd of 250 customers? Soup? Off the wall entree? Add ingredients that make it fancy and expensive? It is a judgement call.
The worst thing a chef can do is tell customers that they ran out of an entree when it is in demand. Letting small portions of good food go to waste is taboo.
Those sous chef challenges are similar to a home cook wondering what to do with a few ingredients in a refrigerator that need to be cooked and served. I had some shredded chicken, a small piece of chihuahua cheese, a piece of green bell pepper, a tomato, 2 ounces of cream, 2 slices of French bread, 1 jalapeno and a very perishable bunch of watercress that all needed to be eaten rather than let them turn into a "refrigerator science experiment." After a few seconds, this open faced chihuahua chicken melt is what came to mind. In restaurants, quick decisions by a sous chef are a must. Why ponder for hours over what to do? Just go with the first inkling of an idea!
Mexican Spiced Poached Chicken Breast:
Place a 6 to 8 ounce chicken breast in a sauce pot.
Cover the chicken breast with 1" of extra water.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped dried guajillo chile.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add 1 pinch of ground chile arbol.
Add 2 pinches of cumin.
Add black pepper and sea salt.
Place the pot over medium/medium low heat.
Simmer till the chicken is cooked enough to be shredded and so the broth has thoroughly flavored the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool to room temperature.
Shred the chicken and set it aside.
Note: The spicy poaching broth can be saved and used to flavor rice for another recipe!
Queso Chihuahua Crema:
A simple reduction method is used to make this sauce!
Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 3/4 cup of cream.
Bring the cream to a gentle boil.
Add 1/3 cup of grated chihuahua cheese, while whisking.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
After the cheese melts into the sauce, reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer and reduce the sauce, till a medium thin sauce is formed.
Brush two 4 inch long bias slices of French baguette bread with olive oil.
Grill the bread on a griddle or saute pan over medium/medium low heat, till they become toasted.
Place the bread slices on a baking pan.
Leave the pan on the heat.
Add 1 small splash of olive oil.
Grill 8 plum tomato slices that are seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
Place the grilled tomato slices on the toasted bread.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 1 small splash of blended olive oil.
Add 1 handful of mixed red and green bell pepper strips.
Saute the bell pepper strips, till they become tender.
Place the sauteed pepper strips on the tomato slices on the bread.
Mix 1 thin sliced green jalapeno pepper with the reserved shredded chicken.
Place the chicken and jalapeno mixture on top of the pepper strips on the open faced sandwich.
Place the baking pan with the two open face sandwiches halves in a 350 degree oven.
Bake the sandwich halves for a few minutes, till the sandwiches become hot.
Open Face Queso Chihuahua Crema Chicken Sandwich on Watercress:
Place a bed of watercress sprigs on a plate.
Place the warm open face sandwiches on the middle of the plate.
Pour the melted chihuahua cheese sauce over the sandwich.
Sprinkle a little bit of thin sliced green onion over the sandwich.
The flavor of this open face sandwich is quite nice! Grilled tomatoes and peppers go well with chicken. The watercress adds a crisp fresh peppery flavor. The chihuahua cheese cream sauce has an interesting mild flavor.
This is a knife and fork open face sandwich that is not boring at all! For a quick idea that made use of a few odd items, this turned out to be very nice entree. Yum! ... Shawna