Making this sandwhich solved a few problems for me...what to make with only 2 small chicken breasts, some fresh asparagus and spinach and a piece of blue cheese...and it needed to feed 4 people.
Since it was a beautiful sunny day I used the barbecue to cook the asparagus and chicken breast, and turned it all into a sandwhich. As for bread, I made some Focaccia with Caramelized Onion and Rosemary. This also gave me enough bread for lunches the next day.
Start out by making the Focaccia with Caramelized Onion and Rosemary.
When it has cooled, remove it from the baking sheet and cut it into 8 pieces, and split each one horizontally so that you can assemble the sandwhiches.
While the focaccia dough is rising, lightly oil the asparagus and grill it.
I also used up some more of those rubs by using one on the chicken breasts before putting them onto the grill to cook.When the chicken is cooked and cooled, slice it as thinly as possible.
Cook some bacon until crispy, and then allow it to cool and drain on paper towel, to remove as much of the excess bacon fat as possible.
Turn the oven on to 350F to pre-heat. Now to assemble the sandwhiches...
Spread one side of the bread with mayonnaise.
I finely chopped sundried tomatoes and mixed them into the mayonnaise for some extra flavour.
Place a layer of chicken breast on top of the mayonnaise.
Top that with asparagus; I had 5 spears per person.
Place 1 rasher of bacon, halved, onto the asparagus.
Thinly slice the blue cheese (mine was a soft Cambozola style cheese) and place it onto the other side of the bread.
Put the sandwhiches onto a baking sheet, leaving them open faced, and place into the oven to heat through. The bread will crisp up slightly and the cheese will melt. This took about 10 minutes,
Remove the sandwhiches from the oven and add fresh spinach to the bacon side. Place the cheese side on top, cut it half, and your sandwhich is ready to eat! Crispy bread and bacon, creamy cheese, slightly spicy chicken and soft, grilled asparagus...what a treat!
- I spread this meal out over most of the afternoon, making the dough and leaving it to rise while I grilled the chicken and asparagus. I cooked the bacon while the focaccia was in the oven. When it was time to make dinner, everything was ready to put together.
- I had originally planned to use ham instead of bacon, but got out voted on that choice! I think ham would be a great choice with the asparagus and chicken, and plan to use it next time.
- The idea of using asparagus on a sandwhich would never have occurred to me if I hadn't tired one that someone else had made. Very yummy! If you don't have access to a grill, place it in a 350F oven and roast it.
- Be sure not to overcook the asparagus, as it will be going back into the oven to heat again.
- Use any cheese you like, I happened to have the blue cheese to use up. Smoked cheese of any kind would be nice, as would white cheddar, havarti or goat cheese.
- If you have a crumbly blue cheese, think about crumbling and mixing it into the mayonnaise.
- Other ideas for things to mix with the mayonnaise include roasted garlic; lemon zest and ground black pepper; chipotle chilies in adobo sauce; grainy mustard and maple syrup; chopped fresh herbs or fresh berries such as blackberries or raspberries.
- Other grilled or roasted vegetables can be used...eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, onions or mushrooms. Try using some grilled fruit...pineapple, apple or peach.
- Grilled vegetables make a great vegetarian sandwhich.
- Add sliced fresh tomato when adding the spinach to the sandwhich (I had no tomatoes when I made this, but I think the contrast would be really great).
- Use leftover cooked chicken, turkey or even pork.
- Instead of spinach use romaine,arugula or mixed baby greens.
- Buy a fresh loaf of crusty bread and use that as the base for your sandwhich.
- The filling can be used in a pasta sauce if you wish...dice the bacon and cook it along with some thinly sliced onions. Add the cooked, sliced chicken and asparagus. Just before draining the cooked pasta add some of the starchy cooking water to the pan, along with the blue cheese, to make it saucy. Toss with the hot pasta, and stir in the fresh spinach, allowing it to wilt. Top with more blue cheese if you wish.
- This could also be used as a wrap filling, or a pizza topping.
- Serve the sandwhich open faced, and top with a poached egg and you have a breakfast sandwhich.