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Grilled Chicken Sandwich on a French Baguette

April 9, 2012

There’s days when you get home and you just want something simple; nothing fancy, and nothing with too many bells and whistles.  It’s been a long day and bells and whistles just aren’t in the cards.  So, what do you do?  You look around your kitchen, see some left over french baguette, have some chicken breasts and some veggies.  If you’re me, you look at these ingredients and decide that you’ll throw together a nice simple chicken sandwich.  What you end up making is a really, really good grilled chicken sandwich that hits the spot.  Fully of robust flavor and texture.

All you need is a little ingenuity and some chicken breast, salt, pepper, onion, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, garlic cloves, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Simple and easy.  These are ingredients that most people already have around the house.

As I almost always do with chicken breast before I grill it, I marinade it.  Even if only for 20-30 minutes, I feel like a good marinade really imparts flavor into the chicken.  A simple marinade with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and minced garlic cloves is easy to whip up in seconds.  And the flavors found in the marinade are the same flavors that will be mirrored in other parts of this chicken sandwich.  Just allow your chicken to rest in the marinade for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, cut up one whole onion and a couple of garlic cloves.  The onion will be carmelized and thinly sliced garlic will be heated in the oven on the baguette to mimic garlic bread.

The sliced onions go into a pot with some olive oil and a little bit if salt.  The salt helps to soften the onions.  Since sandwich has a lot of garlic flavor in it, I also minced some garlic and put it into the pot with the onions as well as some fresh ground black pepper.  Let the onions cook down for a good 10 minutes or so in order to become tender and carmelized.

Next step is to get the bread ready.  I happened to have a French baguette.  I thought it worked perfectly.  The bread was perfect for making a sandwich with as it’s nice and crusty and can get nice and crispy in the onion.  Also, all the little pockets of air in the bread is terrific for holding in the flavor I added to the baguette.

The baguette was cut to the size that I wanted for a sandwich and sliced in half lengthwise.  I laid the baguette down on a baking sheet, cut side up.  To add flavor to the baguette, I drizzled it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and rubbed it with the cut side of fresh garlic cloves, then I left some of the garlic on the bread so that when I put it in the oven, the aroma of the garlic would stick with the baguette.  The baguette went into the oven for 5-8 minutes until it got nice and golden brown and crispy.

Once the chicken has marinated long enough, it’s time to grill it.  It should only take a few minutes on each side to cook all the way through.

After the chicken was cooked, I ended up slicing the chicken into strips to make it easier to put into the sandwich and ultimately eat.

I’m a huge fan of cheddar cheese.  My husband says that I’m boring because I like cheddar.  But I really like the sharp flavor of cheddar.  The sharper, the better.  Oh yeah, this was definitely going on my sandwich.

When the bread is ready, take it out of the oven and start assembling your sandwich.  If you put it together right away, the heat from the bread and the grilled chicken will begin to soften and melt your cheddar cheese nicely.  You can just see how nicely crispy the bread has become in the oven, as the edges of the baguette just start to turn slightly golden brown.  It’s up to you whether you want to leave the garlic cloves on the bread or remove it before you make your sandwich.  The flavor from the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar marry nicely into your heated baguette.

Now, it’s time to assemble your sandwich.  Cheese, grilled chicken strips, carmelized onions, leaf lettuce and tomato slices.  Put the top on your baguette and take a big bite.  The sweet and tang from the balsamic mixing together with the pungent garlic, the grilled smokiness of the chicken and the crisp lettuce, sweet onions, cheese and slightly acidic tomato will make you think you’re eating a gourmet sandwich right in the comfort of your own home.  Simple and easy, grilled chicken sandwich on a French baguette.

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