Do other people out there crave sandwiches on a regular basis?
It probably has something to do with my obsession with carbs, but sometimes all I want is a big, delicious sandwich on crunchy, crusty bread.
I could pretty much live off of fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, and pesto melted together in a warm panini. Ooh, or a warm roast beef sandwich with horseradish cream sauce! Ugh, yum. Or eat chicken or turkey smothered with black olive tapenade daily.
This was one of those days. Not a black-olive-tapenade kind of day. A serious, gourmet sandwich kind of day. Sometimes a Publix sub won’t cut it (actually, that’s not true — a Publix sub will always satisfy me).
For weeks now I’ve been wanting to make a chicken caesar sandwich. I’m thrilled to report back that, once again, Ina Garten has inspired one hell of a dish. Her homemade caesar dressing takes this over top, and I for one have never been more excited about leftovers!
Making the perfect sandwich is’t hard, it just requires a little prep work.
Bake off some thinly sliced pancetta or bacon.
Missing slice of pancetta?
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
To make the caesar dressing (and really, it’s sooo much better than what you buy at the store.. try it!) pulse some fresh flat-leaf parsley with a clove of garlic.
Add anchovy paste (don’t argue with me, just do it), lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and mayo.
Pulse to combine, then set aside in a fridge until ready to use.
Next, grab some bread. Any bread’ll do, but ciabatta works especially well here.
Slice it in half, then toast the bread until crispy.
Spread a generous portion of caesar dressing on both sides.
Top with fresh romaine lettuce.
Then layer with pancetta and some thickly sliced chicken breast.
More pancetta (why not?) and lots of Parmigiano-Regianno cheese.
Look at what you just created. Way to go, you!
Slice in half and share with someone you really like.
I mean, you’d have to really like this person to give away something so delicious.
*Note: Ina’s recipe called for arugula in place of romaine, but it just wouldn’t seem like a “caesar” sandwich that way. She also adds sun dried tomatoes, which I normally have no problem adding, but again, this seemed like a truer version of a caesar salad.
Play around with the flavor combos. If you like extra crunch, add more romaine. If you want it super salty, pile on extra pancetta. Just don’t forget extra dressing on the side! A few bites in, John and I were spooning it on top of our sandwiches. Don’t judge.
Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches
*Recipe adapted slightly from Ina Garten.
Yields: 2 large sandwiches
Time: 40 min prep/cooking, 5 min assembly
- 2 chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 lb thinly sliced pancetta
- 2 large ciabatta breads
- Romaine lettuce, washed and spun dry
- 2 to 3 ounces Parmesan, shaved
For the dressing:
- 1 large garlic clove, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Cool slightly and slice the meat thickly. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the pancetta on another sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
- Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, and mayonnaise and process again to make a smooth dressing. (Refrigerate the Caesar dressing if not using it immediately.)
- Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom. Toast the bread in an oven, cut side up, for 5 to 7 minutes; cool slightly. Spread the cut sides of each piece with the Caesar dressing. Place a layer of romaine lettuce on the bottom piece of bread, then layer with pancetta, Parmesan cheese, and chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then finish with another layer of romaine. Place the top slice of ciabatta on top and cut in half. Serve at room temperature.