You know how I mentioned I’ve been on a sandwich kick lately? And also how I love Caesar salad and eat it all the time? Yeah, I loved this meal. I’ve had chicken Caesar wraps and sandwiches at various restaurants (and several hospital cafeterias – blech). None of them were ever worth ordering again, but this version will be making many reappearances in our house. Ciabatta bread is always my favorite for sandwiches and it is brilliant here. The original recipe calls for proscuitto but with the anchovy paste in the dressing, the proscuitto pushed the saltiness over the edge for me. Next time I’ll just use regular or turkey bacon instead. Also, Ina suggests arugula as the greens on the sandwich. It seems that arugula and my tummy just do not agree, and every time I eat it I feel queasy almost immediately. Needless to say, I won’t use that again. Romaine lettuce makes more sense to me in this context – it is a Caesar sandwich after all. Whatever personal adaptations you use to help this suit your tastes, give it a try. If you like chicken Caesar salad, I think you’ll love this.
2 chicken breasts (whole or boneless, skinless)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1-1½ tsp. anchovy paste
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1½ tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup mayonnaise
1 long loaf ciabatta bread, or 4 ciabatta sandwich rolls
Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried (or baby spinach or arugula)
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Sliced bacon, cooked until partly crisp
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Lightly rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until cooked through. Let rest 10 minutes, then slice thickly. Set aside.
To make the Caesar dressing, combine the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely minced, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice and mayonnaise. Process until smooth and well blended. Adjust seasonings to taste if necessary. Refrigerate the dressing if not using right away.
Slice the bread in half horizontally. Toast if desired. Spread both cut sides of the bread lightly with the Caesar dressing. Layer the bottom half of the bread with the romaine leaves, then top with shaved Parmesan, cooked bacon slices, and sliced chicken. Top with additional romaine if desired. Place the top half of the bread on top, enclosing the sandwich fillings. If using a loaf of ciabatta, slice the assembled sandwich into individual servings. Serve immediately.