Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bistro Chicken Sandwich

Last weekend I attended our annual Women's Retreat in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. While there, a dear friend, Carol, and I had lunch at a lovely little Italian restaurant called Mia Bella Bistro. The menu was so tempting that I had a hard time making up my mind! I ordered their Bistro Chicken Sandwich and it was so good I thought I'd give it a go at home and see how close I could get to the original.

Here's my version of their sandwich.

First, I combined diced tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs from the garden, and olive oil to make a bruschetta style topping and let the flavors blend while I prepared the rest of the components.

I pounded 4 chicken breasts until they were of uniform thickness, then grilled them in a screaming hot grill pan; about 7 minutes per side (or until cooked through and nicely marked with those criss crosses of carmelization) If you don't have a grill pan you could do them in an iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan, or even on the gas grill.

While those were grilling, I cut four, 1/2 in. slabs of Italian bread, brushed them with a little olive oil and toasted them under the broiler until browned and set them aside.

Once the chicken was cooked through, I assembled the open faced sandwich. I put the tomato mixture (drained through a slotted spoon) on top of the bread, then added the chicken, covered it all with a big slice of provolone cheese, and stuck it under the broiler until the cheese was melted and just beginning to brown. Before serving, I topped the cheese with some homemade pesto and served.

Even with the bread browned, the tomato mixture soaked in more than I liked, so next time I will put a slice of provolone cheese on the bread instead of olive oil when it goes under the broiler. That should form a barrier and keep the bread from getting wet. And you can never have enough cheese, right?

I prepared Jake's sandwich a little different since he doesn't like tomatoes. Instead of the tomato mixture, I spread his bread with pesto before adding the chicken. He really liked it that way, too! I'll probably make this dish with pesto instead of tomatoes once the garden tomatoes are no more.

I didn't think to take a picture before we ate, so I'll leave you with a picture I took at Lake Geneva last March.

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