Wednesday, July 1, 2009

sulky subs

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • sub rolls
  • fresh basil, chopped fine
  • soft goat cheese (acorn hill is the best if you're local)
  • 4 Pine Island onions, sliced into thin rings
  • brown sugar
  • Balsamic vinegar

In a small pat of butter over a medium-high flame, saute the onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce flame to medium, add a spoonful of brown sugar and a generous swirl around the pan of vinegar. Continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until onions reduce to about a third of their size, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the hell out of the chicken with a meat tenderizer, grill until fully cooked and slice into bite sized pieces. Assemble sandwich by spreading goat cheese on bottom half of bun, sprinkle a little basil over it, top with warm chicken and finish with onions.

The dish: I decided to test out that old saying "a bad day at the track is better than a good day at the office" (unless of course you're my boss or client, in which case this entry is a work of pure fiction). I live within about 25 minutes of the oldest, active racetrack in the country, so for the 5 or so days a year they race there it would be senseless to go anywhere else. I've been to the track enough times to know three things: 1. there is no such thing as a sure thing 2. any race with Stephane Bouchard is going to be great 3. although they don't get the national attention the thoroughbreds get, the standardbreds race with a great deal of heart and are beautiful ponies. Kim and I had a great afternoon and even had a chance to check out the Harness Racing Museum, a must if you haven't been yet. The kind folks in the gift shop helped me pick out the cool plate you see above. I wasn't sure what to showcase on it, but did a fair amount of research and found that folks at trotting races must not eat but those blue bloods at the triple crown do nothing but. One of the more famous thoroughbred foods are dainty finger sandwiches. Harness racing is anything but dainty, involving the jockeys strapped to the sulkies, bouncing behind the trotting horse past the stands of screaming fans that look nothing like Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. What would these enthusiastic on-lookers eat if they were more concerned about food and less about horses, like their counterparts in Kentucky and Belmont? Surely nothing dainty, but a substantial sandwich that would replenish some of the energy lost for cheering at the photo finish. Some chicken and local goat cheese and basil, topped off with the bounty of the neighboring onion capital of the world, named after the simple machine that separates their races from those other ones. If you haven't been to a harness race, then go. They'll be racing all this weekend at the Historic Track, and as the name implies it's like stepping back in time. Ladies, make sure you have on your favorite Royal Ascot, and gents make sure that you've got the fixings for a sulky sub in the fridge, as you'll need some fuel when the posting is done.

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