Years ago I worked as a server at a casual restaurant in my hometown.
I was (then) a horrible, horrible server. Glasses were left empty and orders were forgotten and – this is a major confession! — I never asked any table if they wanted to order cookies. Never. If people wanted cookies they would ask for cookies! Plus the cookies were really annoying to remember and I would always forget to ring them in or I’d let them burn and really doesn’t everyone already have enough cookies?
The cookies were a tremendous source of stress.
While I was there, though, the restaurant introduced a new seasonal menu item – Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich. Now, I have no idea how they made their sandwiches. Occasionally I had to prepare one but my memory of it is fuzzy. However, I have eaten a number of those sandwiches. They’re truly scrumptious.
I recently re-created the sandwich at home. I’m sure that with a grill pan for the chicken or a panini press for the sandwich, this would be even better. But for now it’s just my pan and me and we do what we do.
Also, I understand that this is not so much “cooking” as it is “assembling.”
Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwiches
cooked chicken breasts (grilled or pan-fried)
fresh basil, whole
sundried tomatoes, julienned and not in oil
ciabatta bread (preferably from local baker! like Sugar B bakery in Galena, OH)
Basil Pesto (make your own or buy…I used what I had from the gnocchi)
1.) Toast ciabatta bread for a few minutes, depending on thickness. Watch it closely – this sandwich is less delicious on a giant ciabatta cracker.
2.) Spread one or both sides with the basil pesto.
3.) Layer basil, sundried tomatoes, chicken, and mozzarella.
4.) Cut in half, grab some extra napkins and enjoy.
What I’ve learned and helpful hints:
I was fairly successful at pan-frying the chicken. The purpose of pan frying is to form a golden crust. Make sure the pan is hot enough before you put your oil and ingredients in, though I’ve heard with a nonstick pan you should put the oil in as the pan heats. Finally, there’s probably too much space between the chicken in this particular picture but, again, I’m working with a lone pan.