Yield: 4 servings
This recipe comes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cooking show. The first time I made this, I did not have any mayonnaise (blasphemy in my house!), so I attempted to make my own for the very first time. I used all olive oil (bad move) and when I was serving the sandwich to my friend and brother, they had olive oil dripping down their arms from the “mayonnaise” I had attempted to make and were thoroughly disgusted. Needless to say, that first time was a bit of a disaster, but learn from my mistake and make sure you always have plenty of mayonnaise on hand; I always have a back-up jar in the pantry now. This sandwich is so many great things combined into one: Caesar salad, juicy roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and good Parmesan cheese.
FOR THE CHICKEN:
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices pancetta, thinly sliced
2 to 3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large ciabatta bread, or 4 ciabatta rolls
2 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes*
8 to 10 chives, finely minced
1 cup Parmesan (about 2 to 3 ounces), thickly shaved with vegetable peeler
*I prefer to use the dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, instead of the oil-packed tomatoes as they can sometimes have an off taste from the oil. Allow the sliced tomatoes to marinate in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to reconstitute slightly.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the chicken breasts skin-side-up on a small sheet pan; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers about 155° with a meat thermometer. Proceed with preparing the rest of the sandwich while the chicken bakes. When cooked through, allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Discard the skin, cut the breasts off of the bones and cut the chicken into thick slices.
Place the pancetta on another baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels until ready to use.
Put the garlic cloves and parsley in a food processor and process until both are minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice and mayonnaise and process just until smooth but you can still see small flecks of parsley. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
Slice the ciabatta in half and toast the bread in the 350° oven until crisp, but still tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Don’t allow the bread to color at all; bread that’s too crisp will just cut up your mouth like nobody’s business. Cool slightly before assembling the sandwich. When ready to serve, spread the dressing on each side of the bread. Place half of the arugula on the bottom and layer with the sun-dried tomatoes and chives. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Proceed with layering the shaved Parmesan, pancetta, sliced chicken and remaining arugula. Place the top on and cut into quarters.
Inspiration: Caesar Club Sandwich, Ina Garten on foodnetwork.com