Sunday, March 8, 2009

114. Chicken Club Sandwiches (p. 188)

Our friends, Travis and Jodi, came over for lunch one Saturday a few weeks ago to visit our new son, Jack. Here's a picture of them with the little guy. Check out the cool hat that Jodi knit (knitted?) for Jack!

I decided to make this recipe* for a nice, light lunch. Because it came from The Book, I knew it would be good, but I still had some reservations. The club sandwich is a ubiquitous presence on just about every restaurant lunch menu. I've had a lot of really bad ones over the years, and so I wondered how The Book was going to improve upon it. Well, for starters, as The Book's notes point out, most of the club sandwiches you've eaten are slapped together with elements (toast, turkey, bacon) that were prepared hours in advance. Here, everything is made fresh, and then there's the "Gourmet touch" that elevates this pedestrian sandwich to something just a little bit special.

The first thing that I did was to poach the chicken breasts. This is an excellent, easy preparation for poached chicken breasts that isn't just limited to this sandwich. I'll use this method whenever I want some cold cooked chicken for salads, sandwiches, or anything else that I would have bought ShortCuts for in the past. (Fresh, homemade food: 1. Processed food: 0.) I put the chicken breasts in a skillet and just covered them with water. I brought the water to a simmer and simmered it for a few minutes, turning the chicken over once. Then, I took it off the heat, covered it and let it stand in the hot water for a little while longer. The result? Tender, moist and fully-cooked(!) chicken.

While the chicken was doing its thing, I cooked some bacon until it was nice and crispy. Then I made the spread, which is what really makes this sandwich sing. It's pretty simple: just regular mayonnaise whisked together with some sour cream, parsley, lemon juice and zest, and some salt and pepper. The lemon juice and sour cream jump start the mayonnaise and give it a real zing.

Finally, I was ready to assemble the sandwiches. I started by spreading the mayo on slices of toasted white sandwich bread. Then I layered on some Boston lettuce, tomato slices, bacon, and avacado slices. Another slice of toast and some more mayo and some of the poached chicken (which I had sliced diagonally). I topped the whole thing of with a final slice of toast spread with a bit more mayo.

I sliced the sandwiches in half diagonally. If I had been smart enough to remember to buy some of those fancy frilly toothpicks, I could have cut the sandwiches into the traditional quarters. But, this is one big sandwich, and without the picks, there was no way quarters would have stayed together.

This was a delicious sandwich. The avacado and the great mayo spread really made all the difference. It wasn't hard to do, but it was more work than you'd want to go through for a quick lunch. But if you're looking for somthing more than "just a sandwich," give this a try.

Date Cooked: February 21, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A-

*This recipe is not on

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