One sandwich I have never gotten around to liking is the chicken salad sandwich. Perhaps it’s because I was introduced to it at a deli counter. The mayonnaise was so plentiful that I could hardly taste the chicken. Since then I’ve stayed away from all chicken salads, and supermarket deli counter foods for that matter. Still searching for a quick meal last night I decided to attempt to make my own and thereby kill two birds with a single chicken breast: rescue the chicken salad from mayonnaise hell and make a week night meal in time for Anders and I to enjoy a date night (go see the movie Unstoppable). Both were handily accomplished.
We love caprese salads so much we had Phil’s BBQ change their menu and serve it at our wedding (They did a great job too). So, it should come as no surprise that we had to try and turn the art of the caprese into a sandwich. A panini sandwich to be exact. It has all the classic ingredients: Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For the bread we went with our own homemade pesto-sourdough bread, but any regular sourdough will do just fine.
Last summer we went on vacation to Greece, to the island of Lesvos. We were prepared to taste amazing foods, local delicacies and great tasting salads. Our friends have told us enough stories about the Greek islands that we were rather excited to taste the cuisine. Honestly though, it was a bit of a letdown. The island seems to have gotten a bit ‘touristy’, and the food was usually bland. It wasn’t bad per se, it was just not very interesting. After two weeks eating all over the island, we did find a restaurant on the last day of our trip which was actually great, but that was the exception. Given the less-than-satisfying culinary experiences, we did find one simple dish we kept returning to; The greek salad. It is a salad with a simple dressing, topped with a gigantic block of feta cheese. We decided to combine this a little with the pan seared feta dish called saganaki. We roasted a slice of feta in the oven, and placed it on top of a simple salad on toast. The result was amazing, and here is the recipe.
Beets are, at least here in SoCal (Southern California) a much ignored root. I’ve heard countless locals sneer at the very mention of it, claiming it taste like soil, and wondering what in the world such a thing could be good for. Well, dear neighbors, here is a sandwich that the beet is perfect for. Make your own chicken salad, and cut a slice of pickled beet root on top, and it’s just fantastic. It add lots of color to an otherwise drab sandwich. By the way, we highly recommend not buying the pre-made cardboard chicken salads in the grocery store, when it’s so easy and cheap to make. It also tastes a lot better by the way. Interestingly, I have no recollection of my mother ever making any such thing, and the first time I even remember having a ‘chicken salad’ is buying one in a grocery store after moving to a dorm in college. I wonder what my mom did with all those chicken leftovers, come to think of it?
Salad dressing, you say, how does that have anything to do with sandwiches? Well, one of our culinary experiments resulted in a delicious ham sandwich using this dressing as a spread. Anders loves tarragon. I mean, he really loves it. In our love of gardening, we’ve made many attempts at growing this delightful herb but to no avail. As I write this, there is a plant languishing on our patio in complete defiance of all the love, attention and desperate hope that has been directed at. But I digress. Lucky for us, we live close to a neighborhood grocery that sells fresh tarragon when in season, and when not, they sell huge bags of the dried stuff. And when life gives you tarragon, why not make a tarragon salad dressing?
So here’s the recipe:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp whole grain mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried tarragon
- 1 tbs honey (or to taste)
- kosher salt
- fresh pepper
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, garlic and tarragon. Mix well and taste. Depending on how well aged your balsamic vinegar is, you might not need the honey. The one we use is on the lower side of the price point and so does need a little help to soften the flavor. Add honey, if needed. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously. That’s it. We’ve make this dressing quite a lot and find that as good as it is freshly made, it tastes even better the next day after the tarragon has a better chance to infuse the dressing with its flavor. It works great as a dressing, tossed with boiled/baked new spring potatoes, grilled veggies and so many more.
But since this is a sandwich blog after all, the sandwich incarnation can be found here in this “Pepper Ham Sandwich With Tarragon Salad Dressing, Cheese, Roasted Garlic And Smoked Paprika.“
Chicken Salad Recipe
- 4 roasted garlic
- 3 tbs Mayo
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (anis)
- 1/4 grated onion
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 grated garlic
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Tarragon Mustard
- 5 oz chicken pieces (picked from roasted chicken)
Mash the roasted garlic to a pulp with a fork, then mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Rejoyce, you are done!
Continue reading Chicken Salad
When life gives you tomatoes, you make tomato salad, tomato pesto, roasted tomato soup, caprese salad… well you get my meaning. This has been a particularly bountiful year for tomatoes in the kitchen garden. This next recipe, although not a sandwich is a wonderful, refreshing accompaniment to your favorite sandwhich.