Chicken Caesar Sandwich with Bacon
Can we all agree that bacon be exempt from New Year’s resolutions? Chicken Caesar Club Sandwiches and I vote yes.
Now, I’m not saying that we should hit up every all-you-can-eat bacon bar in town, but I am suggesting that, if bacon were disqualified from the “meat” category, I could be vegetarian.
A few crispy, crunchy strips of bacon can add big flavor, and I love the extra burst of saltiness they bring to this Chicken Caesar Sandwich. This baby is is a two-handed pick-up sandwich situation, loaded with all manners of fresh and savory ingredients.
If we treat the bread as croutons, this recipe is essentially chicken Caesar salad, turned epic club sandwich, and its inspiration stems from my imaginary BFF, Ina Garten. (Hi, Ina. If you are reading this, my offer to come live with you in the Hamptons and be your personal assistant/taste tester still stands. Jeffrey and I will get along famously, and I too enjoy playing cards while sipping cosmos.)
After watching Ina prepare a similar recipe on the Food Network for one of her numerous, ever fabulous lunch dates, I knew I wanted to try my own version at home. I’m often drawn to her recipes, because they draw big flavor from simple ingredients. They also often lean towards the heavy and indulgent, qualities I prefer to reserve for weekend date nights vs. a casual Tuesday when I’m trying to
behave myself save room for an extra maple brown sugar bourbon bar. I used Ina’s recipe as a starting point, then made my own healthy swaps. Instead of a mayo-heavy spread, I slathered on last week’s 5-second easy Healthy Homemade Caesar Dressing and switched her white loaf for a dense, nutty multigrain.
Two key recipe points stayed. One: roasting bone-in, skin-on chicken breast, then removing the skin, vs. starting with boneless, skinless chicken. The chicken stays far juicier this way, and it usually costs less as well.
Two: pancetta. Although I opted for pancetta’s proletarian cousin bacon, the crispness and extra layer of savoriness it adds to the Chicken Caesar Sandwich are well represented and too tasty to miss.
A sprinkling of sundried tomatoes, plenty of nutty Parmesan and fresh leafy greens bring this sumptuous sandwich to perfection. This baby is a beast to bite, but with mostly lean ingredients, it’s healthy-living friendly too.
I hereby solemnly resolve to eat more Caesar Club Sandwiches in 2015. Even if all my other resolutions fail, I’m feeling very, very confident about this one.
Chicken Caesar Sandwich with Bacon
- 1/2 cup prepared Healthy Homemade Caesar Dressing
- 2 whole bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, — plus additional for seasoning
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 loaf multigrain bread — (roughly 12 inches long and 4 inches wide)
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach
- 12 sun-dried tomatoes — in olive oil
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese — freshly shaved or grated
- Black pepper — for sprinkling
- Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place the chicken breasts on the pan, skin side up. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until fully cooked and the center registers 165 degrees F. Remove to a plate until cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and cut into thick slices. Set aside.
- If necessary, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and cook the bacon according to these easy steps, then set aside.
- While the oven is still hot, slice the bread in half horizontally, and place it, cut sides up, on a clean baking sheet or directly on the rack. Place in the oven until lightly toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Assemble the sandwiches: Spread the cut sides of both slices of bread liberally with the Caesar dressing. Arrange half of the spinach on the bottom slices of bread, then layer as follows: sun-dried tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, cooked bacon, and sliced chicken. Sprinkle with a little extra black pepper and then top with the remaining spinach. Lay the second slice of toasted bread on top. Slice and serve at room temperature.
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