“I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant, but nothing, I said nothing, can take away these blues”
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I will not deny Sinead O’Connor’s cover of this is stunning. Chris Cornell’s cover is decidedly not. As far as getting a recording of this from The Purple One himself, we had to settle for a live version with Rosie Gaines on a hits collection. Then in 2018, a trove of studio demos and unreleased recording finally gave us an original studio version of this heartbreaking track. It’s a beautiful Prince track but feels a bit dated. In the end, O’Connor’s version remains the clear and iconic winner with a sense of timelessness and raw emotion.
This song is an obvious choice when one is using blue cheese as an ingredient, and there is A LOT of blue cheese here. This is definitely NOT a first date sandwich unless both people are eating it.
Blue cheese in the chicken salad. Blue cheese dressing. Blue cheese crumbles. I tend to go with Gorgonzola because I feel it has a better balance of funk to sweet cheese than a Stilton or French blue. The choice is yours, though, as this will certainly work with all but perhaps the strongest of blues. The general idea is to replicate a sort of Buffalo wing vibe for the sandwich filling. Midwest readers will note I use Ranch as a binder for this salad as I found blue cheese dressing got a bit too funky in leftovers.
This is only barely a sandwich. It’s more a Big Salad between two pieces of bread. It’s the age-old philosophical question: is it a sandwich if you can’t pick it up? This is especially true in the Instagram age where food has to have some sort of spectacle. For a sandwich, the spectacle is best achieved via an overabundance. This sandwich did not actually start out being this big, but once I got into the build phase I just couldn’t stop. I do take pride in my consuming of it resulted in only a few forkfuls of stray salad.
NOTHING COMPARES 2 BLUE
Buffalo chicken salad, Gorgonzola dressing, Gorgonzola crumbles, carrot pickles, & baby spinach on a toasted bulkie roll
Makes 5 – 6 sandwiches
Buffalo chicken salad
Blue Cheese Dressing
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Toast the roll. Spread a layer of dressing on the bottom half of the roll. Place baby spinach on top of the dressing then pile on as much chicken salad as you can. When you feel you’ve got enough salad, add a bit more. Top with a generous portion of blue cheese crumbles and some carrot pickles. Spread a healthy amount of dressing on the top bun and finish the sandwich.
To eat this monster, I recommend squishing the sandwich down to compress all the ingredients. I also recommend a fork to eat the bits that fall out and a lot of napkins.
BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD
1 pound Buffalo spice chicken, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
3 1/2 ounces of Gorgonzola (or the blue cheese of your choice)
3 tablespoons hot sauce (Frank’s, Red Devil, Texas Pete’s, etc.)
½ cup bottled Ranch dressing
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Place in an airtight container and let rest in the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
BUFFALO SPICE CHICKEN
1 pound chicken breast
1 tablespoon butter
4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Preheat oven to 450°F
Combine the spices in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. This will make more Buffalo spice than you’ll need for this recipe. Store it in an airtight container to use later on wings or whatever.
Season both sides of the chicken breasts with a generous amount of Buffalo spice. Set aside while heating your skillet.
Place an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. I prefer cast iron for this task, but any skillet you can put directly in the oven will do. When the pan is pre-heated, melt the butter to coat the bottom. Place the chicken in the hot butter to brown. When nicely browned on one side, flip and let cook a few minutes more on the other side.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the breast reaches 155°F. Yes, safe cooking guidelines state chicken should be cooked to 165°F, and this chicken will be. Remove the chicken from the oven, keep it in the hot skillet, tent skillet with foil (or cover with a lid), and let the chicken rest for 15 minutes. The temperature of the chicken will rise to that safe target without drying out the meat.
Blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3-ounces good-quality blue cheese (such as Gorgonzola), crumbled
Water to thin if needed
Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, and blue cheese in a small bowl – stir thoroughly with a fork – breaking up any large chunks of blue cheese as you go. Thin with a bit of water if needed. Set aside in the refrigerator.