I’ve been super into sandwiches lately. Not that I wasn’t into them before… but this past month I’ve been especially drawn to them during lunchtime. One of my favorites? This “caprese” chicken sandwich. I put the caprese in quotations because it’s not exactly like the well known Italian fresh salad. Although many of the flavors remind me of it. So the caprese sandwich was born and it’s a total keeper.
It starts with a loaf of freshly baked ciabatta bread. I love this bread because it can get very crisp on the outside yet still fluffy and airy in texture on the inside. Of course you can also use breads such as French loaf or sourdough. Whatever your preference. All of these breads can be found in your local grocery or bakery. When it comes to bread for sandwiches, I have one tip… I like to scoop out the inside of the bread. Why? Because sometimes sandwiches can be too “bready” if you know what I mean. I think scooping out the fluffy inside and leaving the outer crispy crust makes for a more balanced sandwich. Just thought I’d let you in on a little secret of mine!
Next up comes the good stuff. A simple pan grilled chicken breast seasoned with oregano, garlic and salt. Cooked in olive oil and sliced thin for easy to eat bites. I then mix up a sun-dried tomato mayo and some pesto. Then comes thick slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil. I stick this in the oven to get warm and melty and then finish it off with a handful of spinach and balsamic glaze. And omg… it’s seriously the most comforting and flavorful sandwich. All the bold Italian flavors and ingredients melt together to create this beautiful sandwich that I’ve loved for years and years now.
This is a great sandwich that you can tweak to make vegetarian. I love to remove the chicken and make it a veggie only sandwich. It’s equally as delicious and still has all those good herbs and flavors.
This recipe calls for basil pesto. You can by all means use store-bought (which is much easier and faster, duh). If you feel like going the extra yard and making yours homemade, you can check out my recipe here:
For homemade basil pesto: SPINACH & BASIL WALNUT PESTO
CHICKEN “CAPRESE” SANDWICH ON CIABATTA
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Serves: 2 sandwiches
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced into 2 large rectangles
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in half by width
- Kosher salt
- Dried oregano
- Garlic powder
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 sun-dried tomatoes in oil (from jar), minced
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 2 tbsp basil pesto (homemade or store bought. Linked homemade recipe above)
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced into thin circles
- 1 handful fresh basil, about 20 leafs
- 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced in rounds
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
- Balsamic glaze
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Lay your sliced tomatoes in between paper towels to remove some of the moisture. Allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Cut the chicken breast into two equal halves and season with salt, dried oregano and garlic powder. Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet or large pan with olive oil at medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes a side or until cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Once rested, cut both pieces into thin slices. Set aside.
- Mix together mayo, sun-dried tomatoes and paprika and a pinch of kosher salt. Set aside.
- Carefully remove the inside of the ciabatta bread so that about 1 inch of crust is left (optional). This will create a less “bready” sandwich that is more balanced and is easier to eat.
- Place the bread on a lined baking sheet. Generously spread the top half with pesto and the bottom half with the sun-dried tomato mayo (pictured above). Repeat with second set of bread.
- Layer on the chicken, tomato, fresh basil and mozzarella on the bottom half of the bread. (In that order). Repeat layering on second sandwich.
- Place all 4 slices into the oven (middle rack) and cook for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the pesto top layer is crispy. Time will differ for different ovens so be sure to keep an eye on it.
- Remove from the oven and top each sandwich with a handful of spinach and a heavy drizzle of balsamic glaze (pictured above). Close the sandwich and enjoy while hot.